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3.0 out of 5 stars Mathematics, yes - epistemology, no, Oct. 4 2002
This review is from: Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (Paperback)
An engaging book - Hofstadter does well to link Bach and Escher to Godel, and to illustrate difficult concepts such that average readers can gain an appreciation of them.
Hofstadter is at his best in the dialogues, as well as when he treats Bach, Escher and Godel. He is at his worst when he treats the elusive concept of meaning.
Indeed, his treatment of meaning is a very simplistic version of psycho-physical reductionism, and, worse, he does not argue for his position, but assumes that it is indeed true.
When reading his first chapter explicitly treating meaning, I was forced to look ahead to the index. To my dismay, there is no mention of Kant, no mention of the empiricist/rationalist debate, and no nuance in his hasty generalization regarding the identical states of people's brains, or an argument that would suggest that 'brain' and 'mind' have anything to do with each other.
Entertaining, for the dialogue, penetrating in the treatment of Bach, Escher and Godel, but simplistic in its treatment of what intelligence actually is - disappointing . . .
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