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'What is a self and how can a self come out of inanimate matter?' This is the riddle that drove Douglas Hofstadter to write this extraordinary book. In order to impart his original and personal view on the core mystery of human existence - our intangible sensation of 'I'-ness - Hofstadter defines the playful yet seemingly paradoxical notion of 'strange loop', and explicates this idea using analogies from many disciplines.
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.
A portrait of the eminent twentieth-century mathematician discusses his theorem of incompleteness, relationships with such contemporaries as Albert Einstein, and untimely death as a result of mental instability and self-starvation.
This is a guide, in theory and in practice, to how current technological changes have impacted our interaction with texts and with each other. Henry Sussman rereads pivotal moments in literary, philosophical and cultural modernity as anticipating the cybernetic discourse that has increasingly defined theory since the computer revolution. Cognitive science, psychoanalysis and systems theory are paralleled to current trends in literary and philosophical theory. Chapters alternate between theory and readings of literary texts, resulting in a broad but rigorously grounded framework for the relation between literature and computer science. This book is a refreshing perspective on the analog-orientated tradition of theory in the humanities – and offers the first literary-textual genealogy of the digital.
There is a strong tradition of literary analyses of the musical artwork. Simply put, all musicology - any writing about music - is an attempt at making analogies between what happens within the world of sound and language itself. This study considers this analogy from the opposite perspective: authors attempting to structure words using musical forms and techniques. It's a viewpoint much more rarely explored, and none of the extant studies of novelists' musical techniques have been done by musicians. Can a novel follow the form of a symphony and still succeed as a novel? Can musical counterpoint be mimicked by words on a page? Alan Shockley begins looking for answers by examining music's appeal for novelists, and then explores two brief works, a prose fugue by Douglas Hofstadter, and a short story by Anthony Burgess modeled after a Mozart symphony. Analyses of three large, emblematic attempts at musical writing follow. The much debated 'Sirens' episode of James Joyce's Ulysses, which the author famously likened to a fugue, Burgess' largely ignored Napoleon Symphony: A Novel in Four Movements, patterned on Beethoven's Eroica, and Joyce's Finnegans Wake, which Shockley examines as an attempt at composing a fully musicalized language. After these three larger analyses, Shockley discusses two quite recent brief novels, William Gaddis' novella Agapgape and David Markson's This is not a novel, proposing that each of these confounding texts coheres elegantly when viewed as a musically-structured work. From the perspective of a composer, Shockley offers the reader fresh tools for approaching these dense and often daunting texts.
Like no other book before it, this work delves into the deep, dark, and mysterious undertones hidden in Tinsel town's biggest films. Esoteric Hollywood is a game-changer in an arena of tabloid-populated titles. After years of scholarly research, Jay Dyer has compiled his most read essays, combining philosophy, comparative religion, symbolism, and geopolitics and their connections to film. Readers will watch movies with new eyes, able to decipher on their own, as the secret meanings of cinema are unveiled.
The Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists: Second Edition, 2 Volume Set examines the lives and careers of noteworthy scientists and thinkers through the ages, illuminating the progress of science and its impact on society in general. From Aristotle and the beginnings of objective observations, to twentieth century giants, Freud and Hawking, this extensive in-depth reference explores the men and women who have shaped our ideas and the world in which we live today. Extensively revised and updated, this second edition comprises two substantial illustrated volumes that contain over 2,000 biographical entries and over half a million words. It looks and reads like a "Who's Who" of the world of scientific thought, providing an in-depth listing of prominent historical as well as modern figures of science and medicine. The main biographical entries are arranged alphabetically and summarize the individual's life and contribution to science. The volumes also include a chronology of the history of science from 590 BC to the present, a subject index, and a bibliography of key publications in the history of scientific thought. For anyone researching the world of scientific personalities and ideas, this unique reference work will be indispensable.
The central question I pose in this book is: If there existed a supe rior being who possessed the supernatural qualities of omni science, omnipotence, immortality, and incomprehensibility, how would he/she act differently from us, and would these differences be knowable? (ßecause God, the superior being in the Judeo Christian tradition, is generally described as a male, I shall hence forth use the masculine pronoun form for convenience, but I intend no invidious gender distinctions, whether applied to super natural or natural beings.l Theologians, philosophers of religion, and erudite scholars in other disciplines have addressed this and related questions before, but their answers, generally speaking, have not been informed by any systematic or rigorous theory. I believe the mathematical theory of games, which has little to do with the frivolity and playfulness we normally associate with games, provides a powerful tool for clarifying the key theo logical concepts in my central question and drawing out their implications in games played between human and superior beings. I am fully aware that not everybody will agree that omni science, omnipotence, immortality, and incomprehensibility are what I say they are, but I invite them to propose their own defi- Preface viii nitions and derive their own conclusions with the aid of the theory. By endowing these protean concepts with unambiguous meanings, I will try to show how game theory can breathe life into questions that have been dismissed too quickly simply because they are metaphysical-outside the world of experience.
You ask what problems Hopfield model has? The following is poorly articulated view. *Time is crucial for memory and we do not understand time in standard physics framework. Hopfield model accepts the identification of subjective time and geometric time. I have mentioned Libet’s findings many times: they are taken as proof that free will is illusion. *The identification of all memories as behavioral patterns is wrong- episodal memories are the genuine memories and probably very little to do with the formation of association. *Synaptic contacts develop all the time. How to avoid the change for longest term memories? It is difficult to understand the fact that the episodal memories of youth seem to be the most stable one. My Grandma literally lived in her youth for several years! *The neurons in hippocampus (at least) and therefore also their synaptic contents are regenerated. How the memories can survive in this process? I remember also a document program telling about a person had lost almost all his brain and was able to do mathematics! To me, memory recall looks different from memory storage: in Hopfield model this is not the case since essentially learned behaviours stimulated by inputs as association sequences are in question.