I Am a Strange Loop

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Chapter Summaries


For the large part of Douglas Hofstader’s life he has been interested in the underpinnings of consciousness. When his sister, Molly, was born with an unnamed neurological disorder, he became fascinated by the brain, neuroscience and the basic physical aspects of what makes up a person’s sense of self. From an early age he realized that it is a minds ability to look into itself that helps to make it what it is. This act of self-referencing is called a “strange loop”. Hofstader’s first book, Gödel, Escher, Bach, contained some early attempts at explaining this.


Chapter 1: On Souls and Their Sizes

Chapter 2: This Teetering Bulb of Dread and Dream

Chapter 3: The Causal Potency of Patterns

Chapter 4: Loops, Goals, and Loopholes

Chapter 5: On Video Feedback

Chapter 6: Of Selves and Symbols

Chapter 7: The Epi Phenomenon

Chapter 8: Embarking on a Strange-Loop Safari

Chapter 9: Pattern and Provability

Chapter 10: Gödel’s Quitessential Strange Loop

Chapter 11: How Analogy Makes Meaning

Chapter 12: On Downward Causality

Chapter 13: The Elusive Apple of My “I”

Chapter 14: Strangeness in the “I” of the Beholder

Chapter 15: Entwinement

Chapter 16: Grappling with the Deepest Mystery

Chapter 17: How we Live in Each Other

Chapter 18: The Blurry Glow of Human Identity

Chapter 19: Consciousness = Thinking

Chapter 20: A Courteous Crossing of Wors

Chapter 21: A Brief Brush with Cartesian Egos

Chapter 22: A Tango with Zombies and Dualism

Chapter 23: Killing a Couple of Sacred Cows

Chapter 24: On Magnanimity and Friendship

Epilogue: The Quandary