Memetics Books

This is a collection of books related to the topic of memetics. The list is associated with my 2011 "Memetics" book - which is now available.

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Memetics / Cultural evolution
Darwin's Conjecture: The Search for General Principles of Social and Economic Evolution by Geoffrey Martin Hodgson and Thorbjorn Knudsen (2010)
Of paramount importance to the natural sciences, the principles of Darwinism, which involve variation, inheritance, and selection, are increasingly of interest to social scientists as well. But no one has provided a truly rigorous account of how the principles apply to the evolution of human society—until now. In Darwin’s Conjecture, Geoffrey Hodgson and Thorbj°rn Knudsen reveal how the British naturalist’s core concepts apply to a wide range of phenomena, including business practices, legal systems, technology, and even science itself. They also critique some prominent objections to applying Darwin to social science, arguing that ultimately Darwinism functions as a general theoretical framework for stimulating further inquiry. Social scientists who adopt a Darwinian approach, they contend, can then use it to frame and help develop new explanatory theories and predictive models. This truly pathbreaking work at long last makes the powerful conceptual tools of Darwin available to the social sciences and will be welcomed by scholars and students from a range of disciplines. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
Darwinian Sociocultural Evolution: Solutions to Dilemmas in Cultural and Social Theory by Marion Blute (2010)
Social scientists can learn a lot from evolutionary biology - from systematics and principles of evolutionary ecology to theories of social interaction including competition, conflict and cooperation, as well as niche construction, complexity, eco-evo-devo, and the role of the individual in evolutionary processes. Darwinian sociocultural evolutionary theory applies the logic of Darwinism to social-learning based cultural and social change. With a multidisciplinary approach for graduate biologists, philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, social psychologists, archaeologists, linguists, economists, political scientists and science and technology specialists, the author presents this model of evolution drawing on a number of sophisticated aspects of biological evolutionary theory. The approach brings together a broad and inclusive theoretical framework for understanding the social sciences which addresses many of the dilemmas at their forefront - the relationship between history and necessity, conflict and cooperation, the ideal and the material and the problems of agency, subjectivity and the nature of social structure. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
Evolutionary Worlds without End by Henry Plotkin (2010)
In Evolutionary Worlds Without End, Henry Plotkin considers whether there is any general theory in biology, including the social sciences, that is in any way equivalent to the general theories of physics. It starts by examining Ernest Rutherford's famous dictum as to what science is. In the later chapters he considers the possibility, within an historical framework, of a general theory being based upon selection processes. Throughout, the author constructs a compelling argument for the idea that there are within biology, and that includes the social sciences, something like the general theories that make physics such powerful science. The book will be valuable for all those in the biological and social sciences, in particular, biologists, psychologists, as well as philosophers of science. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
Cultural Evolution by Kate Distin (2010)
This book proposes a theory of cultural evolution and shows how it can help us to understand the origin and development of human culture. Distin introduces the concept that humans share information not only in natural languages, which are spoken or signed, but also in artefactual languages like writing and musical notation, which use media that are made by humans. Languages enable humans to receive and transmit variations in cultural information and resources. In this way, they provide the mechanism for cultural evolution. The human capacity for metarepresentation - thinking about how we think - accelerates cultural evolution, because it frees cultural information from the conceptual limitations of each individual language. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Memes by John Gunders Ph.D. and Damon Brown (2010)
Memes are 'viruses of the mind' - symbols, ideas, or practices that are transmitted through speech, gestures, and rituals. Understanding how symbols like the peace sign or ad slogans like 'Where's the beef?' or viral videos become part of our common culture has become a primary focus of sales and marketing companies across the globe. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Memes explains how memes work, how they spread, and what memes tell us about how we make sense of our world. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
The Artificial Ape: How Technology Changed the Course of Human Evolution by Timothy Taylor (2010)
A breakthrough theory that tools and technology are the real drivers of human evolution. Although humans are one of the great apes, along with chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, we are remarkably different from them. Unlike our cousins who subsist on raw food, spend their days and nights outdoors, and wear a thick coat of hair, humans are entirely dependent on artificial things, such as clothing, shelter, and the use of tools, and would die in nature without them. Yet, despite our status as the weakest ape, we are the masters of this planet. Given these inherent deficits, how did humans come out on top? In this fascinating new account of our origins, leading archaeologist Timothy Taylor proposes a new way of thinking about human evolution through our relationship with objects. Drawing on the latest fossil evidence, Taylor argues that at each step of our species’ development, humans made choices that caused us to assume greater control of our evolution. Our appropriation of objects allowed us to walk upright, lose our body hair, and grow significantly larger brains. As we push the frontiers of scientific technology, creating prosthetics, intelligent implants, and artificially modified genes, we continue a process that started in the prehistoric past, when we first began to extend our powers through objects. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
The Evolutionary World: How Adaptation Explains Everything from Seashells to Civilization by Geerat J. Vermeij (2010)
Evolution has outgrown its original home in biology and geology. The Evolutionary World shows how evolution - descent with modification - is a concept that organizes, explains, and predicts a multitude of unconnected facts and phenomena. Adaptation plays a role not only in the development of new species but the development of human civilization. By understanding how evolutionary theory has played out in areas such as our economic system, our preparation for catastrophes, and even the development of communities, we can learn not just how these systems work but also what challenges lie ahead. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
The Evolution of Culture by Stefan Linquist (2010)
Recent years have seen a transformation in thinking about the nature of culture. Rather than viewing culture in opposition to biology, a growing number of researchers now regard culture as subject to evolutionary processes. Recent developments in this field have shifted some of the traditional academic fault lines. Alliances are forming between researchers trained in anthropology, evolutionary biology, psychology and philosophy. Meanwhile, several distinct schools of thought have appeared which differ in their vision of what an evolutionary approach to culture should look like. This volume contains some of the most influential publications on these subjects from the past few decades. A theoretical background chapter and critical introduction identify the core issues at stake in the new study of cultural evolution. These chapters are followed by sections on each of the four dominant approaches: the phylogenetic approach, memetics, dual inheritance theory and niche construction. Following these are two chapters on closely related topics: the psychological mechanisms of culture and the existence of culture in non-human animals. Overall, this volume provides an up to date overview of some of the most exciting trends in contemporary evolutionary thought. Contents listed. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
Cosmos and Culture: Cultural Evolution in a Cosmic Context by NASA History Division, Stephen J. Dick and Mark L. Lupisella (2010)
Authors with diverse backgrounds in science, history, anthropology, and more, consider culture in the context of the cosmos. How does our knowledge of cosmic evolution affect terrestrial culture? Conversely, how does our knowledge of cultural evolution affect our thinking about possible cultures in the cosmos? Are life, mind, and culture of fundamental significance to the grand story of the cosmos that has generated its own self-understanding through science, rational reasoning, and mathematics? Book includes bibliographical references and an index. Available online. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
Dawn of the Neomodern: the Evolving Meme by Alan Peter Garfoot (Author) (2010)
A detailed and extensive work covering widely the nature of consciousness, mind control and the dynamics of freedom. Art, Inspiration, Aspiration, Education, Achievement and the underclass. Also touched is Ancient Greek metaphysics, the global unification of ideology and Humanism. Science, faith and Post-Humanism, Memetics as a paradigm & Hyperspatial Physics but most importantly the production of a new, clean, free energy social superstructure. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
Books with sections on memes/memetics
The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley (2010)
Ideas have sex, in Ridley's schema; they follow a process of natural selection of their own, and as long as they continue to do so, there is reason to retire apocalyptic pessimism about the future of our species. Erstwhile zoologist, conservationist, and journalist, Ridley (The Red Queen) posits that as long as civilization engages in exchange and specialization, we will be able to reinvent ourselves and responsibly use earthly resources ad infinitum. Humanity's collective intelligence will save the day, just as it has over the centuries. Ridley puts current perceptions about violence, wealth, and the environment into historical perspective, reaching back thousands of years to advocate global free trade, smaller government, and the use of fossil fuels. He confidently takes on the experts, from modern sociologists who fret over the current level of violence in the world to environmentalists who disdain genetically modified crops. An ambitious and sunny paean to human ingenuity, this is an argument for why ambitious optimism is morally mandatory. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
The Watchman's Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction by Rebecca Costa (2010)
Chapter 3 of this book is all about memes and 'supermemes'. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
Human Behavioral Ecology
Historical (before 1975)
From Wikipedia


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