Gödel, Escher, Bach

Gödel, Escher, Bach

An Eternal Golden Braid

Book - 1999
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Douglas Hofstadter's book is concerned directly with the nature of maps" or links between formal systems. However, according to Hofstadter, the formal system that underlies all mental activity transcends the system that supports it. If life can grow out of the formal chemical substrate of the cell, if consciousness can emerge out of a formal system of firing neurons, then so too will computers attain human intelligence. Gödel, Escher, Bach is a wonderful exploration of fascinating ideas at the heart of cognitive science: meaning, reduction, recursion, and much more.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, c1999
Edition: 20th anniversary ed.
ISBN: 9780465026562
Branch Call Number: 510.1 H 1999
Characteristics: xxi, 777 p. : ill. ; 23 cm


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Jan 07, 2018

This is a very stimulating and witty discussion of meaning and intelligence (biological and artificial) from various perspectives. It primarily presents a mathematical (number theory) perspective, but the author does draw frequent parallels from the worlds of art and music, as the title suggests, as well as biology, physics and literature. It does leave me wishing for an update, since a great deal has been learned in relevant areas (biology and AI in particular) since this book was written back in 1979, and even since the new preface was written in 1999. However it still offers a brilliant and insightful analysis of intelligence, consciousness and their limits.
The reader should be forewarned however, that it is 742 pages long (not counting the lengthy preface) and it does expect you to do some “math” to follow the arguments. If that is not a problem then I highly recommend this book.
(I was primarily looking for insight into Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, and was not disappointed!)

Dec 22, 2015

NECESSARY reading for anyone interested in symmetry amongst subjects -- math, philosophy, physics, music

shows the aesthetic beauty & symmetry in all things, it's quite amazingly profound as well.

Nov 01, 2015

This book was great!! It links together the mathematics of Kurt Gödel, the art of M. C. Escher, and the music of J S Bach in an "Eternal golden braid," following themes of formal logic, self-reference, and paradox in math, art, and music. It has a lot of information on computers and artificial intelligence, which is interesting, although it happens to be 36 years old.
I would say Godel Escher Bach is the #2 wisest book I have read (second only to Winnie the Pooh), and I would recommend it to anyone with a love of math and art who is ready for a very large and fairly difficult book.

Apr 13, 2015

A pithy, and for me, challenging read that's well worth the time. If you like patterns, puzzles, and perplexity this book may be for you.

Oct 26, 2010

An esoteric and lovely meditation on human thought, creativity and the meaning of self. Love the way this book combines art, music, math, and cognitive science told through clever and witty language.

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