- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books (January 17, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465030912
- ISBN-13: 978-0465030910
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 40 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Mind's I: Fantasies And Reflections On Self & Soul 0th Edition
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Ever wondered who you are? Who you really are? This collection of writings and reflections by some of today's most notable thinkers is designed to enliven this most central, and most baffling, question in the philosophy of mind. In some ways, the questions posed and bantered about in this book are at the heart of all philosophical reasoning. They are the ultimate questions about the self. The Mind's I contains an astonishing variety of approaches to answering the question, "Who am I?" Between the covers of this book one encounters the literary erudition of Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges alongside the analytic rigor of John Searle. There are sophisticated metaphorical pieces (such as "The Princess Ineffabelle" by Polish philosopher and writer Stanislaw Lem), intriguing dialogues (like Raymond Smullyan's "Is God a Taoist?"), and serious but engaging philosophical essays from a host of thinkers (see Thomas Nagel's "What Is It Like to Be a Bat?").
Editors Hofstadter and Dennett--leading lights in the study of cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and the philosophy of mind--follow each selection with a short reflection designed to elaborate on their main themes. The Mind's I admirably broadens their fields to a more general audience. The book's essays are grouped into six categories, each successively raising the philosophical stakes by introducing new levels of complexity. Ultimately, one confronts some of the thorniest questions in modern philosophy here, such as the nature of free will, our place in the metaphysical world, and the possibility of genuine artificial intelligence. The book closes with a playful and perplexing piece by Robert Nozick, an adequate summation to The Mind's I. He writes, "Perhaps God has not decided yet whether he has created, in this world, a fictional world or a real one.... Which decision do you hope for?" --Eric de Place
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That being said, If you're looking for a deeply technical discussion or a book on neurology, then this is not the book for you. Here you will find very little concrete fact. However the lack of technical detail and care does not take away from the intended goal of this book (just like basically all of Hofstadter's other works).
Turing says that by 2000, computers would have Gigabyte memory, & thinking machines could become possible. Current estimates say maybe a petabyte is more realistic. The authors note that eventually, long after 1981, computers might beat the best human chess players. Nobody considers the possibility of a world wide web of interconnected computers, or Siri conversing with you from an iPhone 5.
`What am I?', `Where am I?', and so forth are general topics.
I've had this book for years and will pick it up and re-read different parts for entertainment. I never fail to get something new out of it with every re-read.
Buy it, you'll like it!
Perhaps the best testament to this book's appeal is that I keep having to buy new copies because each time I let someone borrow it I never get it back. Or perhaps it's that I keep buying new copies anyway!
I particularly enjoyed `A Conversation with Einstein's Brain' which was written by Hofstadter. In it, the reader is presented more implicit concepts about the mind than they will be able to recognize, with or without prior familiarity with the topics. It's truly a classic piece of art. Moreover, if you're not going to read the whole thing, or don't like a few essays in a row, don't put it down too quickly! If you hate it that much, skip to the second to last essay (mentioned above) and pry open your minds eye.