What is a self, and how can a self come out of stuff that is as selfless as a stone or a puddle? What is an ‘I’?

Douglas Hofstadter

Born: February 15, 1945

Douglas Richard Hofstadter is an American professor of cognitive science whose research focuses on the sense of self in relation to the external world, consciousness, analogy-making, artistic creation, literary translation, and discovery in mathematics and physics. Hofstadter's book Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, first published in 1979, won both the Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction and a National Book Award (at that time called The American Book Award) for Science. His 2007 book I Am a Strange Loop won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science and Technology.

Available Documents: 2

Analogy as the Core of Cognition
February 6, 2006
In this Presidential Lecture, cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter examines the role and contributions of analogy in cognition, using a variety of analogies to illustrate his points.
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
By exploring common themes in the lives and works of logician Kurt Gödel, artist M. C. Escher and composer Johann Sebastian Bach, this book expounds concepts fundamental to mathematics, symmetry, and intelligence. Through illustration and analysis, the book discusses how self-reference and formal rules allow systems to acquire meaning despite being made of 'meaningless' elements. It also discusses what it means to communicate, how knowledge can be represented and stored, the methods and limitations of symbolic representation, and even the fundamental notion of 'meaning' itself.

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