I Am a Strange Loop Audio CD – Unabridged, 10 July 2018
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Audio CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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- Publisher : Hachette Book Group and Blackstone Audio; Unabridged AUDIO edition (10 July 2018)
- Language : English
- Audio CD : 1 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1549172654
- ISBN-13 : 978-1549172656
- Dimensions : 15.49 x 4.32 x 14.48 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 649,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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About the Author
Douglas Hofstadter is a distinguished professor of cognitive science and comparative literature at Indiana University. His previous books include Gödel, Escher, Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies, and Bach, which won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 1980.
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But I learned a phenomenal hypothesis for how consciousness works and if reading this book is the only way to learn that information, then I recommend this book.
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As well as repeating his arguments about Gödel's theorem, Hofstadter uses this book to discuss his theory of self, "I", or consciousness, which he treats as synonyms. The title of the book says that consciousness is tied to self-representation, the level-breaking recursion that happens in the proof of Gödel's theorem. It's a nice theory, but Hofstadter leaves it as a tantalising possibility, rather than giving any detail.
Indeed, when you start to think seriously about Hofstadter's theory, it falls to pieces. If I were to build a computer that had an internal representation of itself, a "strange loop", would that make the computer conscious? Even if the computer had no sense of pleasure or pain, in fact no sensations at all, and no knowledge of other computers or people or individuals of any kind? Surely a strange loop is not a sufficient condition for consciousness. Or what about an infant human without the mental ability to represent itself. Is it conscious? Surely it is, unless you have hit it on the head with a blunt instrument. So a strange loop is not a necessary condition for consciousness.
If you want to read a far more disciplined analysis of consciousness, I can strongly recommend the works of Hofstadter's friends, David Chalmers and (especially) Daniel Dennett. Or try Thomas Metzinger.
Sorry Hofstadter, you must try harder. But please do, you are a genius, and it is a waste to fritter away your talent writing books like this.
His pages on the death of his wife. I was brought to tears and to deepen the already deepest bonds I have with my friends.