Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (英語) ペーパーバック – 1999/2/4
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A metaphorical fugue on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Carroll
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction
Winner of the National Book Award in Science
"Every few decades an unknown author brings out a book of such depth, clarity, range, wit, beauty and originality that it is recognized at once as a major literary event. This is such a work."―Martin Gardner, Scientific American
"In some ways, Godel, Escher, Bach is an entire humanistic education between the covers of a single book. So, for my next visit to a desert island, give me sun, sand, water and GEB, and I'll live happily ever after."―John L. Casti, Nature
"A brilliant, creative, and very personal synthesis without precedent or peer in modern literature."―The American Mathematical Monthly
"I have never seen anything quite like this book. It has a youthful vitality and a wonderful brilliance, and I think that it may become something of a classic."―Jeremy Bernstein
"A huge, sprawling literary marvel, a philosophy book disguised as a book of entertainment disguised as a book of instruction."―Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"A triumph of cleverness, bravura performance."―Parabola
"A wondrous book that unites and explains, in a very entertaining way, many of the important ideas of recent intellectual history."―Commonweal
"Godel, Escher, Bach was a triumphantly successful presentation of quite difficult concepts for a popular audience. There has been nothing like it in computer science before or since."―Ernest Davis, IEEE Expert
2件中1 - 2件目のレビューを表示
Douglas is a great thinker but what makes this book so unique is that it stimulates further thought in the reader...
I confess that each reading brings about a new awareness on the subject and so I shall continue to interpret the contents over time...
Fabulous for those who like to mix art and science and make cognition happen!
Some of the topics explored: artificial intelligence, cognitive science, mathematics, programming, consciousness, zen, philosophy, linguistics, neuroscience, genetics, physics, music, art, logic, infinity, paradox, self-similarity. Mathematics about mathematics. Thinking about thinking. Mathematics about thinking. Meta-everything.
The author said he was trying to make the point that consciousness was recursive, a kind of mental fractal. Your mind will certainly feel that way when you are done.
This is not a dry discussion of these topics. The author recognizes that he's exploring things that are intrinsically fascinating and fun, and has fun with them the whole way through. He doesn't just discuss the ideas, he demonstrates them, sometimes while he's discussing them, in clever and subtle ways.
Inbetween chapters, he switches to a dialogue format between fantasy characters; here he plays with the ideas being discussed, and performs postmodern literary experiments. For example, one of his dialogues makes sense read both forwards and backwards. In another, the characters jump into a book, and then jump deeper into a book that was in the book. In yet another, a programmer calmly explains the function and output of a chatbot while the chatbot calmly explains the function and output of the programmer. I find the author's sense of humor in these delightful.
In a word, it's brilliant. GEB combines the playful spirit of Lewis Carroll, the labyrinthine madness of Borges, the structural perfectionism of Joyce, the elegant beauty of mathematics, and the quintessential fascination of mind, all under one roof. It's become something of a cult phenomenon, and it has its own subreddit, r/GEB, and even its own MIT course.
Does the book succeed in its goal? One of the common criticisms is that the author never gets to the point and proves his thesis, and instead spends time on endlessly swirling diversions. But I don't blame him; the task of connecting mind to math is insanely speculative territory. All he can do is spiral the topic and view it from every conceivable direction. He decided to take a loopy approach to a loopy idea, and I think that's very fitting. If you want a more linear approach to the same idea, you could read I Am A Strange Loop. However, the way GEB weaves a tapestry of interrelated ideas, rather than focusing on just one, is a major part of its charm.
In the grand line of reductionism, where we in theory reduce consciousness to cognitive science to neuroscience to biology to chemistry to physics to math to metamath, GEB positions itself at the wraparound point at unsigned infinity, where the opposite ends of the spectrum meet.
It is an utter gem, a classic, and a pleasure to read. I cannot recommend it enough.
The general effect is that, upon reading it, you get the feeling that it was about... something? Something to do with an artist, a composer and a mathematician, all linked together in a strange loopy kind of way. It can be confusing as hell, but slowly the ideas presented in the book seep in, and you get a - slightly - better understanding of the themes in the book.
I say "a misunderstood classic" because most people who attempt to describe the book (myself included) can only do so in the broadest terms; the actual book is far more complex, much like a fractal can appear simple but is really subtly intricate. Furthermore, the author laments in his follow-up "I Am A Strange Loop" that most of the readers only saw the outer layer of "a book with a bunch of weird themes and stories" and totally missed his underlying message; that the whole of any given system, such as mathematics (or human self-identity), can behave totally logically and consistently within itself but also allow bizarre concepts that both follow the rules and break them at the same time.
In short, no self-contained system is foolproof, or paradox-proof.
Are you with me so far?
Read the book, and judge for yourself!