Al Bità's Reviews > I Am a Strange Loop

I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas R. Hofstadter
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's review
Apr 30, 09

Read in January, 2009

I enjoyed reading this foray by Hofstadter into coming to terms with that slippery concept we call 'I'; the style is cheeky, cheerful, very witty (perhaps too witty for some tastes). The subject of this book is elusive and slippery as ever; but it is of interest to anyone trying to grapple with this mercurial subject. Linked with 'I' is the concept of 'self', and by association, 'mind', 'soul', and 'conscience'. Hofstadter masterfully guides us through all the labyrinthian pathways, sometimes playing with us, endlessly punning (perhaps top much so for my taste), yet treats us kindly through the journey. He had many insights to provide, and does not shy away from the paradoxes involved. Nor does he fear to go into some very dense and some quite difficult terrain; but his hand is firm and steady, and he does get you through, even though you might not fully understand every step.

Whether he is totally convincing in his conclusions is problematic: and Hofstadter readily acknowledges this. But he feels that what he and we as readers gain from the journey well outweighs any 'negatives' we might feel (they are 'negatives' but only in the sense that it makes us question, perhaps, some of our most cherished sacred cows about ourselves).

Whether this is good or bad for you is nether nor there. Anyone who is intrigued by the idea of who or what "I" is [sic:] will find this book stimulating and thought-provoking.

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