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The advocates of memetics seek to construct a theory of culture on the basis of an analogy with biological evolution. Such a neo-Darwinian theory of culture should be carefully distinguished from evolutionary psychology and cognitive anthropology, as it is not reductionist. More generally, it should not be identified with any of the theories of culture that are based on the hypothesis that the individual mind is active rather than passive when it adopts a given cultural trait. Although in some respects memetics is close to traditional social science paradigms, it forms a specific model. Despite its stimulating ideas and the interesting research it has encouraged, memetics is based on propositions and concepts – in particular that of the meme – which raise a number of difficulties. The nature of memes is uncertain and problematic. If they exist, their realm covers only some cultural phenomena. Finally, the attempt to prove the existence of memes encounters serious obstacles.
Pour citer cet article :Guillo Dominique (2007/2-3). Is Cultural Evolution Analogous to Biological Evolution? A Critical Review of Memetics. In Clément Fabrice & Kaufmann Laurence (Eds), Culture and Society : Some Viewpoints of Cognitive Scientists, Intellectica, 46-47, (pp.49-68), DOI: 10.3406/intel.2007.1277.