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I Am a Strange Loop Paperback – Jul 8 2008

3.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 436 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Reprint edition (July 8 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465030793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465030798
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 2.5 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 730 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #64,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Hofstadter—who won a Pulitzer for his 1979 book, Gödel, Escher, Bach—blends a surprising array of disciplines and styles in his continuing rumination on the nature of consciousness. Eschewing the study of biological processes as inadequate to the task, he argues that the phenomenon of self-awareness is best explained by an abstract model based on symbols and self-referential "loops," which, as they accumulate experiences, create high-level consciousness. Theories aside, it's impossible not to experience this book as a tender, remarkably personal and poignant effort to understand the death of his wife from cancer in 1993—and to grasp how consciousness mediates our otherwise ineffable relationships. In the end, Hofstadter's view is deeply philosophical rather than scientific. It's hopeful and romantic as well, as his model allows one consciousness to create and maintain within itself true representations of the essence of another. The book is all Hofstadter—part theory, some of it difficult; part affecting memoir; part inventive thought experiment—presented for the most part with an incorrigible playfulness. And whatever readers' reaction to the underlying arguments for this unique view of consciousness, they will find the model provocative and heroically humane. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* For more than 25 years, Hofstadter has been explaining the mystery of human consciousness through a bold fusion of mathematical logic and cognitive science. Yet for all of the acclaim his fusion has garnered (including the Pulitzer for his Godel, Escher, Bach, 1979), this pioneer admits that few readers have really grasped its meaning. To dispel the lingering incomprehension, Hofstadter here amplifies his revolutionary conception of the mind. A repudiation of traditional dualism--in which a spirit or soul inhabits the body--this revolutionary conception defines the mind as the emergence of a neural feedback loop within the brain. It is this peculiar loop that allows a stream of cognitive symbols to twist back on itself, so creating the self-awareness and self-integration that constitute an "I." Hofstadter explains the dynamics of this reflective self in refreshingly lucid language, enlivened with personal anecdotes that translate arcane formulas into the wagging tail on a golden retriever or the smile on Hopalong Cassidy. Nonspecialists are thus able to assess the divide between human and animal minds, and even to plumb the mental links binding the living to the dead. Hofstadter's analysis will not convince all skeptics. But even skeptics will appreciate the way he forces us to think deeper thoughts about thought. Bryce Christensen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Unlike the previous long winded and arrogant reviews , I highly recommend this book. I am not going to pretend to be some pigeon holed, know-it-all philosopher, claiming to understand the universe and what consciousness is.
Douglas Hofstadter attempts to understand the relationships between the "I" and the biological body. His looping analogies try to clarify what our consciousness could be in relationship with the numerous systems of symbols within our being. The book is written for an educated layman but certainly not engrossed in technical mish-mash. It is an unprovable concept and Douglas understands that. He just wishes to put the idea of "I" into some sort of representational or symbolic view within the mysterious goings-on in all of us. He does not ever expound upon souls living forever. Instead, Douglas observes that the thoughts and ideas of others can live on in others, as fragments of the deceased, in the vast collection of experiences and interactions with the "outside world".
If you are interested in a very thought provoking inquiry into what your "ego" could be, you should read this book.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book. It was hard slogging at a few points, but Hofstadter did his best to make very difficult concepts understandable. He loves paradoxes and plays-upon-words. Overall, I found this book to be a brilliant researcher's struggle to make sense of himself (and all of us) in terms of how brain activity can produce human consciousness.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fascinating self-exploration, following devastating events in the author's personal life. Well worth reading. Earnest phenomenology without burying the reader in multisyllabic language. (Excellent delivery service too.)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A Fascinating and easy read exploring trends in science and thought on artificial intelligence, cognition and consciousness.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are at all interested in AI Douglas R. Hofstadter is a must read and you should check out all his other works.
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