Metamagical Themas : Questing For the Essence of Mind And Pattern
These essays (mostly from "Scientific American", but several previously unpublished) look at chaos and Chopin, grammar and genetics, racism and Rubik's cube, and countless other subjects. From all this, Hofstadter throws new light on his central theme: how people - and machines - think and feel. The author also wrote "Goedel, Escher, Bach", which won the Pulitzer Prize.
- Paperback | 880 pages
- 146 x 233 x 33mm | 682g
- 30 Dec 1993
- Penguin Books Ltd
- London, United Kingdom
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Table of contents
Part 1 Snags and snarls: on self-referential sentences; self-referential sentences - a follow-up; on viral sentences and self-replicating structures; nomic - a self-modifying game based on reflexivity in law. Part 2 Sense and society: world views in collision - the "Skeptical Inquirer" versus the "National Enquirer"; the number numbness; changes in default words and images, engendered by rising consciousness; a person paper on purity in language. Part 3 Sparking and slipping: pattern, poetry, and power in the music of Frederic Chopin; Parquet deformations - a subtle, intricate art form; stuff and nonsense; variations on a theme as the crux of creativity; metafont, metamathematics, and metaphysics. Part 4 Structure and strangeness: magic cubology; on crossing the rubicon; mathematical chaos and strange attractors, lisp - atoms and lists, lisp - lists and recursion; lisp - recursion and generality; Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. Part 5 Spirit and substrate: review of "Alan Turing - The Enigma"; a coffeehouse conversation on the Turing test; on the seeming paradox of mechanizing creativity; analogies and roles in human and machine thinking; who shoves whom around inside the careenium?; waking up from the Boolean dream, or, subcognition as computation. Part 6 Selection and stability: the genetic code - arbitrary?; undercut, flaunt, pounce, and mediocrity - psychological games with numbers; the prisoner's dilemma computer tournaments and the evolution of cooperation. Part 7 Sanity and survival: dilemmas for superrational thinkers, leading up to a luring lottery; irrationality is the square root of all evil; the tale of Happiton; the tumult of inner voices, or, what is the meaning of the work "I"?