I Am a Strange Loop

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Basic Books, Aug 20, 2013 - Philosophy - 436 pages
3 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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I highly recommend this book to anyone that has pondered this strange thing called "I". It is a beautiful work and I will treasure it as much as I did his previous "GEB". Since he works at my wife's alma mater, I still hold out slim hope that I will meet him at some point in my life.
I was surprised that in all the citations Hofstadter has in his book, there is little mention of Eastern philosophy and no mention of Alan Watts at all. I think the ideas in this work and Watts' philosophy expressed in such lectures as "Not What Should Be But What Is" have such strong resonance that it seems unlikely that "I Am a Strange Loop" was created with no knowledge of this work.
I'll indulge one quote that I find particularly comforting related to our own mortality:
"Though the primary brain [of the deceased] has been eclipsed, there is, in those that remain and who are gathered to remember and reactive the spirit of the departed, a collective corona that still glows. This is what human love means. The word "love" cannot, thus, be separated from the word "I"; the more deeply rooted the symbol for someone inside you, the greater the love, the brighter the light that remains behind".
 

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
Copyright

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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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