Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

824 pages

Published Jan. 10, 1999 by Basic Books.

ISBN:
978-0-465-02656-2
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4 stars (115 reviews)

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this book applies Godel's seminal contribution to modern mathematics to the study of the human mind and the development of artificial intelligence.

41 editions

Un énorme pavé éclectique sur la logique interne des mathématiques, de l’art, de la musique, etc. Miam.

5 stars

Les personnes dépourvues d’un (gros) minimum d’esprit logique et mathématique et/ou de curiosité intellectuelle peuvent passer leur chemin. Les autres découvriront quelques-uns des principes fondamentaux qui gouvernent le monde, de l’abstraction aride des systèmes formels à l’ADN et à l’intelligence artificielle, de Bach le compositeur à Escher le dessinateur et à Gödel le logicien, tous liés d’une manière assez inattendue.

Version longue : www.coindeweb.net/blogsanssujetprecis/index.php?post/2008/04/16/487-godel-escher-bach-de-douglas-hofstadter

Review of 'Gödel, Escher, Bach : an eternal golden braid' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This incredible book explores, through an utterly fascinating synthesis of disparate ideas, what it means to think. Gödel's theorem about the inherent incompleteness of formal systems in mathematics serves as the backbone, while the self-referential and dimension-transcending works of M.C. Escher and J. S. Bach are woven in as needed to illustrate and enrichen the narrative. Hofstadter precedes each chapter with a humorous dialogue between Achilles and the Tortoise, borrowed from Lewis Carroll, and other characters, to introduce (sometimes subtly!) the concepts he exposits later in a more conventional way. Drawing on number theory, genetics, computer science, Zen Buddhism, the brain, animal behavior, artificial intelligence, art, music, language, and other topics, Hofstadter doesn't so much drive a point home as he revels in the interconnectedness of all things in his own mind. But perhaps that's the point.

Review of 'Gödel, Escher, Bach : an eternal golden braid' on 'GoodReads'

No rating

The first part is hard theoretical mathematics, number theory and its relation with programming languages.

The second part is far easier to read, because it is about computer programs, and artificial intelligence. It is quite fun reading some now outdated concepts in AI, only very recently outdated thanks to DeepMind's Convolutional Neural Networks and its use in AlphaGo to beat the best humans players in the world.

Before every chapter there's a dialog with fantastic characters, with meta-commentary about the chapter.

All in all, it is not as impossible to finish as I expected =)

Review of 'Gödel, Escher, Bach : an eternal golden braid' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

I should like this book. The subject matter covers things I have studied in depth and find interesting. The premise is something I mostly agree with. The writing is good enough to not get in the way and I like going on recursive tangents that may or may not add to the overall text (I'm looking at you Moby Dick). In spite of this it was not enjoyable at all.

It wasn't a matter of not getting it, I've slogged through Godel's paper and dug into technical aspects of many of the topics Hofstadter covers in the book. I even enjoyed working out the puzzles. I think it boils down to already having a similar working knowledge of the material covered and the presentation here did not provide any significant new illuminations to what I already knew. Maybe this is because the lessons from GEB have already permeated into things …

Review of 'Gödel, Escher, Bach' on Goodreads

4 stars

1) ''In Zen, too, we can see this preoccupation with the concept of transcending the system. For instance, the koan in which Tozan tells his monks that ''the higher Buddhism is not Buddha''. Perhaps, self-transcendence is even the central theme of Zen. A Zen person is always trying to understand more deeply what he is, by stepping more and more out of what he sees himself to be, by breaking every rule and convention which he perceives himself to be chained by # needless to say, including those of Zen itself. Somewhere along this elusive path may come enlightenment. In any case (as I see it), the hope is that by gradually deepening one's self-awareness, by gradually widening the scope of ''the system'', one will in the end come to a feeling of being at one with the entire universe.''

2) ''[...] This suggests a distinction that could be drawn …

Review of 'Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid' on 'LibraryThing'

5 stars

advice to other reviewers; if you've not read Hostader's 20th anniversary preface, please do. all he wanted/s to do i/was show how self-awareness, the sense of "I", grows out of self-reference. mathematically speaking, which H insists he is not about, observes in Bertrand Russell's Principia Mathematica, while trying to build a Maginot Line in math against "self-reference", lays the seeds for it's own refutation in favor of self-reference. returnreturnin as few words as possible: it's not about the substance, but the patterns.

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