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I Am a Strange Loop

By: Douglas R Hofstadter

384 pages, no illustrations

Basic Books

Paperback | Aug 2008 | #176744 | ISBN-13: 9780465030798
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £11.99 $15/€13 approx
Hardback | Apr 2007 | #167917 | ISBN-13: 9780465030781
Out of Print Details

About this book

Can thought arise out of matter? Can self, a soul, a consciousness, an "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 or mine 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 R. Hofstadter's first book-length journey into philosophy since G#del, Escher, Bach. Compulsively readable and endlessly thought-provoking, this is the book Hofstadter's many readers have been waiting for.

"Why am I inside this body and not in a different one? This is among the most irresistible and fascinating questions humanity has ever asked, according to Douglas Hofstadter. His latest book I Am a Strange Loop asks many more challenging questions: are our thoughts made of molecules? Could a machine be confused? Could a machine know it was confused? - until it ties you in loops. If you enjoy such brain-bending questions and are willing to struggle with some deep mathematical ideas along the way, then you'll certainly enjoy this book... (I)f this book works its magic on you, you will no longer want to ask "why am I inside this body and not a different one?" because you'll know what it means to be just a strange loop." - BBC Focus Magazine

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