I Am a Strange Loop

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Basic Books, Aug 20, 2013 - Philosophy - 436 pages
26 Reviews
Douglas Hofstadter’s critically acclaimed return to the themes of Gödel, Escher, Bach—an original and controversial view of the nature of consciousness and identity.
 

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I am a strange loop

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What do we mean when we say "I"? What is it like to be a strange loop? In his new excursion into the nature of consciousness and selfhood, Hofstadter (cognitive & computer science, Indiana Univ ... Read full review

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Having read Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach previously, I had high expectations for this book- especially in its focus on the philosophical question of the self. While I realize that his approach to philosophical observation is less linear and refined than what I'm used to from other writers, I was left a bit disappointed by what seemed like a presumption that the foundation of his ideas was correct. Specifically, much of what Hofstadter has to say in this book relies upon the notion that the soul is not a general property of existence (as in one either has a soul or does not), but is something that grows based upon many factors. I'm not sure how one could really build that argument effectively without defining what the soul is- a subject that Hofstadter does not address. The most interesting part of the book is the section in which he examines the death of his wife- in which he is the most vulnerable about his ideas and feelings than at any other point. 

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Contents

Prologue An Affable Locking of Horns
3
Chapter 1 On Souls and Their Sizes
9
Chapter 2 This Teetering Bulb of Dread and Dream
25
Chapter 3 The Causal Potency of Patterns
37
Chapter 4 Loops Goals and Loopholes
51
Chapter 5 On Video Feedback
65
Chapter 6 Of Selves and Symbols
73
Chapter 7 The Epi Phenomenon
87
Chapter 16 Grappling with the Deepest Mystery
227
Chapter 17 How We Live in Each Other
241
Chapter 18 The Blurry Glow of Human Identity
259
Chapter 19 Consciousness Thinking
275
Chapter 20 A Courteous Crossing of Words
281
Chapter 21 A Brief Brush with Cartesian Egos
301
Chapter 22 A Tango with Zombies and Dualism
319
Chapter 23 Killing a Couple of Sacred Cows
333

Chapter 8 Embaring on a StrangeLoop Safari
101
Chapter 9 Pattern and Provability
113
Chapter 10 Godels Quintessential Strange Loop
125
Chapter 11 How Analogy Makes Meaning
147
Chapter 12 On Downward Causality
163
Chapter 13 The Elusive Apple of My I
177
Chapter 14 Strangeness in the I of the Beholder
193
Chapter 15 Entwinement
207
Chapter 24 On Magnanimity and Friendship
343
Epilogue The Quandary
357
Notes
365
Bibliography
377
Permissions and Ackowledgments
383
Index
385
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About the author (2013)

Douglas Hofstadter is College of Arts and Sciences Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science at Indiana University, Bloomington. His previous books are the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid; Metamagical Themas; The Mind’s I; Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies; and Le Ton beau de Marot. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

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