I Am a Strange Loop
Here's a detailed but mixed review of Douglas Hofstadter's latest book, I Am a Strange Loop. The reviewer talks about two of the big ideas in the book, both of which Hofstadter discussed in a talk I attended four or so years ago:
The first big idea is that one person’s consciousness may live, in part, in another person’s brain. The second is that there is not a binary consciousness/no-consciousness switch; some consciousnesses are bigger than others. Hofstadter uses the word “soul” in this context for consciousness.
The first idea, especially in the personal context in which Hofstadter introduced it, I found to be quite compelling. The second idea I don't think was quite captured in the talk, so I look forward to seeing how he describes it in the book. I do know that when he gave the talk, he used the second idea to defend his eating of chicken (but not of red meat), but I guess by the time he wrote this book it drove him to vegetarianism.
I had fun reading Godel, Escher, Bach, his Pulitzer-prize winning first book, and while this one seems smaller in scope, I'll get to it at some point. If you're interested in puzzles, patterns, puns, and not-too-technical forays in cognitive science, but don't want to take on an entire book, I suggest grabbing Metamagical Themas and reading the segments that interest you. (via rwx)
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