Noyce Conference Room
Dan Dennett (Tufts University; SFI External Professor)

Abstract.  Since Richard Dawkins coined the term “meme” in THE SELFISH GENE in 1976, the term has evolved into an almost unrecognizable offspring of the original. Since many serious thinkers about cultural history and cultural evolution have resisted Dawkins’ concept vigorously, its transformation into “internet memes” might seem a deservedly undignified demise—the extinction, in effect—of what was intended to be a serious scientific concept, but I will argue that with some minor adjustments and clarifications, it is still not just at the center of serious scientific thinking about human and animal culture, but a necessary ingredient of any sound model of how evolution has shaped the human mind by shaping human culture. 

Research Collaboration
SFI Host:
Jessica Flack

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