Synopses & Reviews
First published in 1979, this is a genuine interdisciplinary work of nonfiction, with dozens of historical references and subtexts. Critics and reviewers have summed up its meaning in varying ways, yet consistently with praise. A mixture of art, philosophy, music, math, technology, and cognitive science, the book's title only reflects one aspect of its subject matter; namely, the connection between the work of mathematician Kurt Gödel, the artist M. C. Escher, and the composer J. S. Bach. In the preface to the 20th-anniversary edition, the author calls his book "a very personal attempt to say how it is that animate beings can come out of inanimate matter."
"[A] major literary event." Scientific American
This groundbreaking Pulitzer Prize-winning book sets the standard for interdisciplinary writing, exploring the patterns and symbols in the thinking of mathematician Kurt Godel, artist M.C. Escher, and composer Johann Sebastian Bach.
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. Gödel Escher and Bach is a wonderful exploration of fascinating ideas at the heart of cognitive science: meaning, reduction, recursion, and much more.
About the Author
Douglas Hofstadter is College of Arts and Sciences Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science at Indiana University, Bloomington. His previous books are the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid; Metamagical Themas; The Mind's I; Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies; and Le Ton beau de Marot. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.