Hofstadter's great achievement in Gödel, Escher, Bach was making abstruse mathematical topics (like undecidability, recursion, and 'strange loops') accessible and remarkably entertaining. Borrowing a page from Lewis Carroll (who might well have been a fan of this book), each chapter presents dialogue between the Tortoise and Achilles, as well as other characters who dramatize concepts discussed later in more detail. Allusions to Bach's music (centering on his Musical Offering) and Escher's continually paradoxical artwork are plentiful here. This more approachable material lets the author delve into serious number theory (concentrating on the ramifications of Gödel's Theorem of Incompleteness) while stopping along the way to ponder the work of a host of other mathematicians, artists, and thinkers.
The world has moved on since 1979, of course. The book predicted that computers probably won't ever beat humans in chess, though Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov in 1997. And the vinyl record, which serves for some of Hofstadter's best analogies, is now left to collectors. Sections on recursion and the graphs of certain functions from physics look tantalizing, like the fractals of recent chaos theory. And AI has moved on, of course, with mixed results. Yet Gödel, Escher, Bach remains a remarkable achievement. Its intellectual range and ability to let us visualize difficult mathematical concepts help make it one of this century's best for anyone who's interested in computers and their potential for real intelligence. --Richard Dragan
Topics Covered: J.S. Bach, M.C. Escher, Kurt Gödel: biographical information and work, artificial intelligence (AI) history and theories, strange loops and tangled hierarchies, formal and informal systems, number theory, form in mathematics, figure and ground, consistency, completeness, Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry, recursive structures, theories of meaning, propositional calculus, typographical number theory, Zen and mathematics, levels of description and computers; theory of mind: neurons, minds and thoughts; undecidability; self-reference and self-representation; Turing test for machine intelligence.
This is the most challenging book I've ever read, but also one of the best.
The preface gives also very interesting perspectives on how the author developed the book explaining what the book is about and is not.
Hofstadter also from time to time looks at the artwork of M.C. Escher and the music of J.S. Bach.
I wish i had ordered through kindle it would have been easjer to return this bulls***. Half of the theores supported on te book have been discarded during the last 20 years as... Read morePublished 22 hours ago by Amazon Customer
Delivered on time with no problems just as expected. Would use this seller again!Published 4 days ago by lsnoss
Hello, um I am actually writing a request for getting a kindle version of this book. I have this paperback in two different languages, but unfortunately I left my English copy in... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Yulin Fan
Seemingly unrelated topics (art, music, mathematics and even Zen Buddhism) have been beautifully interwoven to illustrate a central point. Very powerful and even enlightening. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jef Pauwels
A little sun-bleached but only the dust jacket was affected. It's what's inside that counts.
G-E-B is, I believe, one of the first postmodern books ever written; it's... Read more
I read for the first time Gödel, Ersher, Bach in Italian during my engineering university studies between 1989 and 1990. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Paolo Capoferro
To all the other 5 str reviews I will just add this: GEB is my desert island book. Nothing else is even close.
Can't wait for the Coen Brothers to release the movie. :-)
For the author to take such a complex subject - Godel's incompleteness theorem - and write in such a clear, fun, readable way is amazing. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Joshua Davies
What has Bach got to do with it? Well, nothing. And if you are interested in Godel better look somewhere else.Published 2 months ago by Miguel Ivo Cruz