I Am a Strange Loop

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Basic Books, Aug 20, 2013 - Philosophy - 436 pages
2 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".

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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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