I Am a Strange Loop


I Am a Strange Loop

by Douglas Hofstadter (2007)

Continuing our lifelong conversation with Hofstadter’s brain, we learn how the professor proved the statement made by Achilles in “A Conversation with Einstein’s Brain,” i.e., The very attempt to learn about myself changes me from what I was (see Hofstadter, 1979 and 1981). In his latest “Preface,” Hofstadter says he set out merely to state unambiguously what he thought he had clearly written in Godel, Escher, Bach so many years ago, but nobody seems to have understood: he’s talking about souls, not machines! As it turns out, writing I Am a Strange Loop showed the author that the underlying hardware is critical to the software’s self-referential understanding of itself. 412 pages.

Table of Contents

Words of Thanks

Preface: An Author and His Book

Prologue: An Affable Locking of Horns

  1. On Souls and Their Sizes
  2. This Teetering Bulb of Dread and Dream
  3. The Causal Potency of Patterns
  4. Loops, Goals, and Loopholes
  5. On Video Feedback
  6. Of Selves and Symbols
  7. The Epi Phenomenon
  8. Embarking on a Strange-Loop Safari
  9. Pattern and Provability
  10. Godel’s Quintessential Strange Loop
  11. How Analogy Makes Meaning
  12. On Downward Causality
  13. The Elusive Apple of My “I”
  14. Strangeness in the “I” of the Beholder
  15. Entwinement
  16. Grappling with the Deepest Mystery
  17. How We Live in Each Other
  18. The Blurry Glow of Human Identity
  19. Consciousness = Thinking
  20. A Courteous Crossing of Words
  21. A Brief Brush with Cartesian Egos
  22. A Tango with Zombies and Dualism
  23. Killing a Couple of Sacred Cows
  24. On Magnanimity and Friendship

Epilogue: The Quandary



Permissions and Acknowledgments


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