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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.
A young scientist and mathematician explores the mystery and complexity of human thought processes from an interdisciplinary point of view
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.
One of our greatest philosophers and scientists of the mind asks, where does the self come from--and how our selves can exist in the minds of others. 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.
"Coined by artist and media researcher Bill Seaman, 'neosentience' describes a new branch of scientific inquiry related to artificial intelligence. This volume explores the groundbreaking work of Seaman and chaos physicist Otto E. Rossler in exploring the potential of an intelligent robotic entity possessed of a form of sentience that ever-more-closely resembles that of a human being. Individual chapters approach the concept from a range of disciplines, including psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, and the arts. Neosentience is a burgeoning area of interest, and this book encourages readers to reflect on how we experience and interpret the world, how memory works, and what it is to be human. The study addressed in this 'book' puts forward a project that is twofold. Firstly, it discusses the conceptual basis within which it would be possible for the construction of a 'neosentient' system, a machine endowed with the capacity to perceive or feel things in the world, as if manifesting a proto form of (artificial) consciousness. Secondly, it hypothesizes about the rising of benevolence through the interaction/intra-action, between 'neosentient' machines and their environment, which include us, human beings, as inhabitants. The manuscript tackles its task in a very particular manner as it interrelates a constellation of ideas in order to address key research agendas on the fields of language, aesthetics, philosophy, biology, physics, science, technology, mind and consciousness to name some. The goal of the book is not to define the structure within which such an engine could be built, it does not bring into light the blueprint of such an, but it nails down key concepts from a broad range of topics, mapping a path for future research, reinforcing this way the sense of feasibility of its enterprise. In doing so, the book illuminates trajectories, ramifications or even non-directly correlated ideas that would pass unnoticed to the reader's mind, were not by the authors generously bringing into play sets of key scholars, theories, discoveries, even speculative ideas"--Provided by publisher.

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