The Meme Machine

The Meme Machine

Paperback Popular Science

By (author) Susan J. Blackmore

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  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 149mm x 214mm x 19mm | 322g
  • Publication date: 3 February 2006
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 019286212X
  • ISBN 13: 9780192862129
  • Edition statement: Revised ed.
  • Sales rank: 34,981

Product description

Humans are extraordinary creatures, with the unique ability among animals to imitate and so copy from one another ideas, habits, skills, behaviours, inventions, songs, and stories. These are all memes, a term first coined by Richard Dawkins in 1976 in his book The Selfish Gene. Memes, like genes, are replicators, and this enthralling book is an investigation of whether this link between genes and memes can lead to important discoveries about the nature of the inner self. Confronting the deepest questions about our inner selves, with all our emotions, memories, beliefs, and decisions, Susan Blackmore makes a compelling case for the theory that the inner self is merely an illusion created by the memes for the sake of replication.

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Author information

Susan Blackmore is a Lecturer in the School of Psychology, University of the West of England. The author of Dying to Live: Science and the Near Death Experience, she resides in Bristol, UK.

Review quote

Anyone who hopes or fears that memetics will become a science of culture will find this surefooted exploration of the prospects a major eye-opener. Daniel Dennett Any theory deserves to be given its best shot, and that is what Susan Blackmore has given the theory of the meme I am delighted to recommend her book. Richard Dawkins

Editorial reviews

Richard Dawkins coined the term 'meme' in 1976, to refer to a cultural element that is passed on from person to person (or culture to culture) by imitation, or other non-genetic means. An idea such as the popular image of God as an old man with a long white beard could be regarded as a meme - so also could a popular song such as 'Yellow Submarine', or the concept of parliamentary democracy. Although the idea has penetrated popular culture itself (so that the meme concept is itself a meme), Blackmore has now provided the first popular account of what the whole meme idea might tell us about what it means to be human. A little more technical than Dawkins's own popularizations of the ideas of evolution, but still accessible. Review by: Dr Raj Persaud. Editor's note: Dr Raj Persaud is the author of Staying Sane: How to Make Your Mind Work for You. (Kirkus UK)