I Am a Strange Loop

Front Cover
Basic Books, 2007 - Philosophy - 412 pages
31 Reviews
What do we mean when we say "I"? Can thought arise out of matter? Can a self, a soul, a consciousness, an "I" arise out of mere matter? If it cannot, then how can you or I be here? I Am a Strange Loop argues that the key to understanding selves and consciousness is the "strange loop"--a special kind of abstract feedback loop inhabiting our brains. Deep down, a human brain is a chaotic seething soup of particles, on a higher level it is a jungle of neurons, and on a yet higher level it is a network of abstractions that we call "symbols." The most central and complex symbol in your brain or mine is the one we both call "I." The "I" is the nexus in our brain where the levels feed back into each other and flip causality upside down, with symbols seeming to have free will and to have gained the paradoxical ability to push particles around, rather than the reverse. For each human being, this "I" seems to be the realest thing in the world. But how can such a mysterious abstraction be real--or is our "I" merely a convenient fiction? Does an "I" exert genuine power over the particles in our brain, or is it helplessly pushed around by the all-powerful laws of physics? These are the mysteries tackled in I Am a Strange Loop, Douglas R. Hofstadter's first book-length journey into philosophy since Godel, Escher, Bach. Compulsively readable and endlessly thought-provoking, this is the book Hofstadter's many readers have long been waiting for.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
5
4 stars
3
3 stars
8
2 stars
9
1 star
6

Review: I Am a Strange Loop

User Review  - Williwaw - Goodreads

Hofstadter presents what strikes me as a convincing philosophical model of a non-dualistic world in which it is unnecessary to divide our experiences into material and spiritual components, or to hold ... Read full review

Review: I Am a Strange Loop

User Review  - Cinematic Cteve - Goodreads

Hofstadter explores complex philosophical ideas with accessible analogies to explore the essence of "I," which is to say, the individual I believe myself to be and whether I am correct in that self ... Read full review

About the author (2007)

Douglas R. Hofstadter is College Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. His previous books are the Pulitzer Prizewinning Gödel, Escher, Bach; Metamagical Themas, The Mind's I, Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies, Le Ton Beau de Marot, and Eugene Onegin.

Bibliographic information