Godel, Escher, Bach : An Eternal Golden Braid
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. Godel, Escher, Bach is a wonderful exploration of fascinating ideas at the heart of cognitive science: meaning, reduction, recursion, and much more.
- Paperback | 824 pages
- 167 x 233 x 45mm | 1,080g
- 21 Sep 2011
- INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US
- BASIC BOOKS
- New York, United States
- 20th Anniversary ed.
- w. num. figs.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction
"I have never seen anything quite like this book. It has a youthful vitality and a wonderful brilliance, and I think that it may become something of a classic."--Jeremy Bernstein, "Every few decades an unknown author brings out a book of such depth, clarity, range, wit, beauty and originality that it is recognized at once as a major literary event. This is such a work."--Martin Gardner, Scientific American "Godel, Escher, Bach was a triumphantly successful presentation of quite difficult concepts for a popular audience. There has been nothing like it in computer science before or since."--Ernest Davis, IEEE Expert "In some ways, Godel, Escher, Bach is an entire humanistic education between the covers of a single book. So, for my next visit to a desert island, give me sun, sand, water and GEB, and I'll live happily ever after."--John L. Casti, Nature "A wondrous book that unites and explains, in a very entertaining way, many of the important ideas of recent intellectual history."--Commonweal "A triumph of cleverness, bravura performance."--Parabola "A brilliant, creative, and very personal synthesis without precedent or peer in modern literature."--The American Mathematical Monthly Winner of the National Book Award in Science Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction "A huge, sprawling literary marvel, a philosophy book disguised as a book of entertainment disguised as a book of instruction."--Atlanta Journal-Constitution
About Douglas R. Hofstadter
Douglas R. Hofstadter is College of Arts and Sciences Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he also directs the Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition.
Our customer reviews
Godel, Escher, Bach is easily my favourite book, and has been for the thirty-odd years since I first read it. Douglas Hofstadter combines and links the various themes associated with the characters in the title (and some others) in fascinating and imaginative ways. He explores similarities between Art, Philosophy and Science and relates these to the nature of intelligence, and the possibilities of artificial intelligence. It helps if you have some basic understanding of formal logic and an affinity with structures such as recursion, fugues and self-reference. But I doubt if any of this is necessary. There are sections that look a little dated now, after so much advance in genetics and computing in particular. However, I don't think this detracts much, if anything, from this thoroughly thought-provoking read. Although there is a gradual building of concepts through the book, its structure is almost fugal with sections on competing themes alternating and sometimes combining in original and amusing ways. Having read it once, I found that I could dip in to re-read sections for pleasure, each time noticing new details. There are so many interesting insights and so much variety that I am never bored. If I had to chose my desert island book, this would certainly be it. It is one of a kind.show moreby Michael Gilding