Journal of Memetics
The History of the Memetic Approach
At least since the early seventies several authors have tried to adopt the principle of evolution by selection to understand the continuous change in cultural behaviors (Boyd , Calvin , Campbel , Cloak ). Richard Dawkins popularized the memetic approach. He coined the term 'meme' as an analog to the biological unit of inheritance, the gene or the genetic replicator (Dawkins , ). The rather simple distinction between genetic replicators as 'genes' on the one hand, opposed to all non-genetic replicators as 'memes' has been firmly imprinted in the evolutionary thinking about cultural information (Dennett [14, 15, 16], Hays & Plotkin , Hofstadter , Hull [23, 24, 25], Lynch [28, 29], Westoby ). Since its initial conception, the term 'meme' has been used under very different meanings and in very different contexts, infecting a wide variety of disciplines. Among the most known are Dennett [14, 15, 16], who sees the human mind as being built up with memes comparable to the programming of a computer. Hull [23, 24, 25] defines the meme as replicator, and adds interaction to account for evolution by natural or artificial selection. He thus describes selection processes in science and biology using exactly similar definitions. Perhaps the most popular informal use of the term describes memes as 'viruses of the mind.' Parallels to both biological and computer virus varieties have been drawn (Dawkins [11, 13]).
Memetics and Related Evolutionary Approaches
We see the memetic approach as an evolutionary one. The principle of evolution by selection is best known from the natural selection theory developed by Darwin to explain evolution of biological organisms . Dennett  calls this natural selection principle a universal acid: it is such a powerful concept that it bites through everything. Indeed, in this sense Darwin described only a special case of selection when he was dealing with biological evolution.
Evolutionary theories are applied in a wide variety of disciplines. As mentioned above, evolutionary theories are applied to culture, like in the work of Boyd and Richerson , Cavalli-Sforza  and Csanyi . The evolution of language can be seen in analogy to biological evolution, as described by Hoenigswald and Wiener . In computer sciences, genetic programming and genetic algorithms are descendants of the evolutionary view as well, for example in the work of several people at the Santa-Fe Institute (Holland , Kauffman ). Learning theories of humans, applied to individuals, groups and society can be tied to evolutionary theory, as shown in the work of Campbell [4, 5]. The work of several philosophers of science shows evolutionary views, as in Popper's  and Kuhn's  work. In addition, these views have impact on evolutionary epistemology, and are analogical to biological evolution. Evolutionary theories have been described to account for brain development by Gerald Edelman , and extended to the msec-to-minutes time scale of thought and action by William Calvin [2, 3].Evolutionary theory is present in the field of economy, often tied to the development of technology, as in the work of Nelson and Winter [30, 31] or to the evolution of institutions as in the work of Hodgson  and North .
We feel that this plethora of approaches proves the potential of evolutionary thought in all fields of human sciences. At the same time this means that there is ample opportunity to compare models of evolution, and their applications, which is one of the aims of our journal.
Key References (for more see the Bibliography of Memetics)