I Am a Strange Loop

Front Cover
Basic Books, Aug 1, 2007 - Science - 436 pages
41 Reviews
Can thought arise out of matter? Can self, soul, consciousness, “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. The most central and complex symbol in your brain is the one called “I.” The “I” is the nexus in our brain, one of many symbols seeming to have free will and to have gained the paradoxical ability to push particles around, rather than the reverse.

How can 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 laws of physics?

These are the mysteries tackled in I Am a Strange Loop, Douglas Hofstadter's first book-length journey into philosophy since Gödel, Escher, Bach. Compulsively readable and endlessly thought-provoking, this is a moving and profound inquiry into the nature of mind.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
14
4 stars
11
3 stars
8
2 stars
8
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - KirkLowery - LibraryThing

Once more Douglas tries to convince us that consciousness is merely a complex algorithm(s). Although he fails in this, his readers learn a lot. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - David_David_Katzman - LibraryThing

I have an interesting perspective on this title because the book I read just before it was The New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, a book grounded in Zen Buddhist philosophy. Tolle declares that the Ego (or ... Read full review

All 7 reviews »

Contents

Praise
WORDS OF THANKS
PROLOGUE
This Teetering Bulb of Dread and Dream
The Causal Potency of Patterns
Loops Goals and Loopholes
On Video Feedback
Of Selves and Symbols
Strangeness in the I of the Beholder
Entwinement
Grappling with the Deepest Mystery
How We Live in Each Other
The Blurry Glow of Human Identity
Consciousness Thinking
A Courteous Crossing of Words
A Brief Brush with Cartesian Egos

The Epi Phenomenon
Embarking on a StrangeLoop Safari
Pattern and Provability
Gödels Quintessential Strange Loop
How Analogy Makes Meaning
On Downward Causality
The Elusive Apple of My I
A Tango with Zombies and Dualism
Killing a Couple of Sacred Cows
On Magnanimity and Friendship
EPILOGUE
NOTES
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2007)

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.

Bibliographic information