On memes and culture

Tuesday, December 16, 10:00

Josu Acosta (ILCLI)

Venue: Carlos Santamaria Centre, Room 4


The goal of this talk is, firstly, to present the views of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Susan Blackmore about memes in the  debate about cultural evolution, discussing some examples, and secondly to outline my main criticism to this meme theory of culture. Our focus will be the conflict that arises between the large and heterogeneous group of items that presuppose the notion of culture and the memetic view, which understands culture as a replicative process based on imitation. My goal is to show that imitation is not the main mechanism for transmitting culture, that communication plays an important role (Sperber 1996; Dennett 1995), and that replication is not a necessary condition for an evolutionary process like culture (Richerson and Boyd 2008).

(Attendance is free, but if you are willing to attend, please send and email to with your name and affiliation).