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913Re: A Question - Mike: What is the unit of Culture?

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  • tintner michael
    Dec 15, 2013
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      The inability to pin an idea or cultural feature to quantifiable key units is widely acknowledged as a problem for memetics

      By "loser" , I meant "loser in the cultural wars" (not valueless).

      What IS important is concepts/ideas, i.e. our conceptual system. If anything has a claim to being basic units of culture, it is clearly concepts/ideas, which are most easily identifiable in the words of language - and which identify the basic objects and object actions of the world.

      The connection between concepts/ideas and works of art/literature - in case our audience here is totally lost/bored - is that they stand in fundamental opposition to the units of science, including computation.  Logicomathematical variables are specific and intended to be non-ambiguous.  Ideas and art works are infinitely interpretable (as Derrida would no doubt agree) - and art critics delight in their "density" and "ambiguity" of meaning. You "decode" the units of logic and math, you "interpret" concepts and art works  - and they are infinitely open to interpretation.

      It is language (and more generally conceptual thought) that drives human action. "Come here" "Go to the shops" "Let's have a chat", "Write an essay on Koestler"."Attack Iraq"

      These are supergeneral terms (and more or less programs) of action that are infinitely instantiable - and as yet there is no equivalent in computation or robotics. 

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