I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas R. Hofstadter

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 7 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

Can thought arise out of matter? Can self, soul, consciousness, “I” arise out of mere matter? If it cannot, then how can you or I be here?

I Am a Strange Loop argues that the key to understanding selves and consciousness is the “strange loop”—a special kind of abstract feedback loop inhabiting our brains. The most central and complex symbol in your brain is the one called “I.” The “I” is the nexus in our brain, one of many symbols seeming to have free will and to have gained the paradoxical ability to push particles around, rather than the reverse.

How can a mysterious abstraction be real—or is our “I” merely a convenient fiction? Does an “I” exert genuine power over the particles in our brain, or is it helplessly pushed around by the laws of physics?

These are the mysteries tackled in I Am a Strange Loop, Douglas Hofstadter’s first book-length journey into philosophy since Gödel, Escher, Bach. Compulsively readable and endlessly thought-provoking, this is a moving and profound inquiry into the nature of mind.

 

About Douglas R. Hofstadter

See more books from this Author
Douglas Hofstadter is professor of computer science and cognitive science at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
 
Published August 1, 2007 by Basic Books. 436 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Science & Math, Law & Philosophy, Professional & Technical, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for I Am a Strange Loop

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Hofstadter, one of whose specialties is the study of feedback loops in complex systems, coins sometimes unfortunate terms for our own loopy ways of thinking, among them “thinkodynamics” and “statistical mentalics,” but the governing idea is a fruitful one: There are large-scale and small-scale th...

Dec 15 2006 | Read Full Review of I Am a Strange Loop

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

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.

Jan 29 2007 | Read Full Review of I Am a Strange Loop

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

Hofstadter uses this very powerful explanation to illustrate an enormous range of human experience, including our interaction with other people, how we construct our symbols for others, and how our sense of identity changes, but he also takes on some of the arguments in the philosophy of mind.

Nov 05 2009 | Read Full Review of I Am a Strange Loop

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

So, for example, if you think about yourself thinking about yourself thinking about yourself...

Nov 05 2009 | Read Full Review of I Am a Strange Loop

Open Letters Monthly

Hofstadter says that dogs, for instance, have “far smaller souls” than humans (he’s free with the use of the term “soul,” even going so far as to write “if you don’t like the word ‘soul’ then feel free to substitute ‘I’, ‘person’, ‘self’, or ‘locus of consciousness’” … for all the world as though...

| Read Full Review of I Am a Strange Loop

BlogHer

A writer, novelist, and reviewer who loves words in al forms, Adair Jones regularly contributes to a variety of publications on literary subjects.

Mar 17 2009 | Read Full Review of I Am a Strange Loop

Bookmarks Magazine

… I Am a Strange Loop is vintage Hofstadter: earnest, deep, overflowing with ideas, building its argument into the experience of reading it—for if our souls can incorporate those of others, then I Am a Strange Loop can transmit Hofstadter’s into ours."

Aug 03 2007 | Read Full Review of I Am a Strange Loop

Reader Rating for I Am a Strange Loop
64%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 176 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×