Monday, 28 November 2011

Whither ontomemy?

I've looked at the "evo-devo" literature. Developmental processes in cultural evolution are conspicuous by their absence. However, culture has developmental processes too - it says so in the Memetics FAQ.

Ontomemy mirrors ontogeny. However, few study ontomemy - and the field has a pretty dismal literature. People look at particular cultural developmental processes. So for example there's the study of cooking - which looks at how recipes are translated into edible food. However, practically nobody seems to be looking at the field as a whole. We do know that ontomemy doesn't necessarily recapitulate phylomemy - but many other issues are still wide open.

One of the problems with ontogeny is that developmental processes tend to be idiosyncratic and unique - and the field has been relatively resistant to the process of finding general principles.

Ontomemy goes a bit beyond the scope of this blog, but - in case anyone is interested - there's a whole area of science out there that practically nobody seems to be working on.

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