Memetics Books


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

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ImageTitle, author, date and description
Secular criticism
Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis by Raymond Tallis (2011)
Biologism -- the belief that human beings are essentially animals and can be understood in biological terms -- is gaining increasing acceptance in contemporary thought. This trend is seemingly legitimised by genuine, often spectacular, advances in biological science: in human genetics, evolutionary theory and neuroscience. Our propensities, we are told, can be accounted for by "a gene for" this or that; everyday behaviour can be explained in Darwinian terms; and human consciousness is identified with the activity of the evolved brain. Ultimately, so the story goes, all that we do, think and feel is subordinated to the imperative of ensuring that we behave in such a way as to, individually or collectively, maximise the chances of replicating our genetic material. In Aping Mankind, Raymond Tallis argues that the rise of this way of thinking is a matter of profound concern. He demonstrates that by denying human uniqueness, and minimising the differences between humans and their nearest animal kin, biologism misrepresents what we are, offering a grotesquely simplified and even degrading account of humanity, which has dire consequences: by seeing ourselves as animals we may find reasons for treating each other like them. In a devastating critique Tallis exposes the exaggerated claims made for the ability of neuroscience and evolutionary theory to explain human consciousness, behaviour, culture and society and shows that human beings are infinitely more interesting and complex than they appear in the mirror of biologism. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
Evolutionary Analogies: Is the Process of Scientific Change Analogous to the Organic Change? by Barbara Gabriella Renzi and Giulio Napolitano (2011)
Advocates of the evolutionary analogy claim that mechanisms governing scientific change are analogous to those at work in organic evolution above all, natural selection. By referring to the works of the most influential proponents of evolutionary analogies (Toulmin, Campbell, Hull and, most notably, Kuhn) the authors discuss whether and to what extent their use of the analogy is appropriate. A careful and often illuminating perusal of the theoretical scope of the terms employed, as well as of the varying contexts within which the analogy is appealed to in contemporary debates, leads to the conclusion that such general theories of selective processes are either too sketchy or eventually not persuasive, if not altogether based on flawed views of evolutionary biology. By clarifying what is at stake, the analysis carried out in the book sheds new light on one of the dominant theories of scientific progress. It also invites criticism, of course but that is the very fuel of philosophical confrontation. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
Religious criticism
Darwinism and the Divine: Evolutionary Thought and Natural Theology by Alister McGrath (2011)
In Darwinism and the Divine is a typically thoughtful and stimulating book on a major topic. There is a huge amount to be learnt from it, and both the expert and the beginner can profit from a reading. In an age when extremists of all kinds are glossing over the really important issues, it is most welcome to have scholarship that truly moves the debate forward. This book criticises memes. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.


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