Douglas R. Hofstadter is College Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science, and Adjunct Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, Philosophy, Comparative Literature, and Psychology at Indiana University, where he directs the Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition.
Hofstadter's books include the Pulitzer Prize winning Gödel Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, Metamagical Themas, The Mind's I (with Daniel Dennett), Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies, Le Ton Beau de Marot, and a verse translation of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. In addition to his research and writings in cognitive science and philosophy of mind, Hofstadter has contributed to physics and mathematics (in particular the fractal structure generally known as “Hofstadter's butterfly”), has composed music and visual art, and has done poetry translation. He has authored over 50 papers, including Analogy as the Core of Cognition.
- Douglas Hofstadter's home page
- Douglas Hofstadter's Wikipedia page
- A discussion of Douglas Hofstadter
- Lipogrammatic Autobiography, by Douglas Hofstadter
- Selected Annotated Bibliography of Douglas Hofstadter
- Presidential Lectures interview with Douglas Hofstadter
- Analogy as the Core of Cognition, by Douglas Hofstadter
- Hofstadter on Einstein
Douglas Hofstadter Quotes
Which statement seems more true: (1) I have a brain. (2) I am a brain.
Perhaps the most concise summary of enlightenment would be: transcending dualism. … Dualism is the conceptual division of the world into categories. … human perception is by nature a dualistic phenomenon – which makes the quest for enlightenment an uphill struggle, to say the least.
Relying on words to lead you to the truth is like relying on an incomplete formal system to lead you to the truth. A formal system will give you some truths, but ... a formal system, no matter how powerful – cannot lead to all truths.
Below every tangled hierarchy lies an inviolate level.
No reference is truly direct – every reference depends on SOME kind of coding scheme. It's just a question of how implicit it is.
One of the basic tenets of Zen Buddhism is that there is no way to characterize what Zen is. No matter what verbal space you try to enclose Zen in, it resists, and spills over. It might seem, then, that all efforts to explain Zen are complete wastes of time. But that is not the attitude of Zen masters and students. For instance, Zen koans are a central part of Zen study, verbal though they are. Koans are supposed to be 'triggers' which, though they do not contain enough information in themselves to impart enlightenment, may possibly be sufficient to unlock the mechanisms inside one's mind that lead to enlightenment. But in general, the Zen attitude is that words and truth are incompatible, or at least that no words can capture truth.
I think Ray Kurzweil is terrified by his own mortality and deeply longs to avoid death. I understand this obsession of his and am even somehow touched by its ferocious intensity, but I think it badly distorts his vision. As I see it, Kurzweil's desperate hopes seriously cloud his scientific objectivity.