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Deep down, your brain is a chaotic seething soup of particles. On a higher level it is a jungle of neurons, and on a yet higher level it is a network of abstractions that we call "symbols." The most central and complex symbol is the one you call "I". An "I" is a strange loop where the brain's symbolic and physical levels feed back into each other and flip causality upside down so that symbols seem to have gained the paradoxical ability to push particles around, rather than the reverse.
Douglas R. Hofstadter is College Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. His previous books are the Pulitzer Prizewinning Gödel, Escher, Bach; Metamagical Themas, The Mind’s I, Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies, Le Ton Beau de Marot, and Eugene Onegin.
Table of Contents
Words of Thanks
Preface: An Author and His Book
Prologue: An Affable Locking of Horns
On Souls and Their Sizes
This Teetering Bulb of Dread and Dream
The Causal Potency of Patterns
Loops, Goals, and Loopholes
On Video Feedback
Of Selves and Symbols
The Epi Phenomenon
Embarking on a Strange-Loop Safari
Pattern and Provability
Godel's Quintessential Strange Loop
How Analogy Makes Meaning
On Downward Causality
The Elusive Apple of My "I"
Strangeness in the "I" of the Beholder
Grappling with the Deepest Mystery
How We Live in Each Other
The Blurry Glow of Human Identity
Consciousness = Thinking
A Courteous Crossing of Words
A Brief Brush with Cartesian Egos
A Tango with Zombies and Dualism
Killing a Couple of Sacred Cows
On Magnanimity and Friendship
Epilogue: The Quandary
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