Sheldrake’s conception of socio-cultural & intellectual fields which influence and are influenced by the living things within them – and contain that socio-culturo-intellectual memory.
Doesn’t seem in the slightest contentious – memes & memeplexes, Pirsigian levels of static patterns (of quality). Doesn’t seem in the slightest undermined by a holistic computer / machine / system metaphor of living / thinking things, things which perceive natural morality. Humans are “special” (a species as distinct as any) but not privileged.
Morphic resonance, the idea that new forms arise more easily within fields that have similar patterns of form – sounds just like “fit”, as in survival of. Why do people want to see “revolutionary” ideas in what is clearly common sense.
Formative causation. Laws of physics as “evolving habits” rather than mathematically fixed laws. Now that is more radical, but even then not entirely unique or original – a pan-Evolutionary model. Physics always was “nature”.
Sheldrake interviewed on PBS some years ago.
Interestingly in the closing words of that interview he reverses Shakespeare’s words (as I did)
“Such dreams as stuff are made of.”
[Also interestingly, I notice I first use the phrase in reviewing Pinker here in 2002, though even then it was clear I’d heard it somewhere before.]