Who am I? Why I am here? Why did it take me so long to get this thirtieth episode up and running? What is the self? What is human consciousness? Are we a perpetually perplexed species? In this episode we dive headfirst into questions of human existence and consciousness with a return guest and the book I Am a Strange Loop (2007) by cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter.
Following the pattern set out in our first interview together*, our reader and I met up at a crowded bar for some beer and a chat about lifelong learning. Our discussion covers Hofstadter’s theories on the relationship between self-referential systems and the human mind, the many metaphors he uses to explore these theories, his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Gödel, Escher, Bach (1979), and the accessibility of his work. We also venture into a broader discussion of philosophy and the ways in which it can be embedded in literature.
“There is a tremendous amount to be learned from every book…The mind works through metaphor. It works through other worlds that we’re able to create and gain insight from. So in the same way that [Hofstadter] is dropping a metaphor a minute in this book, every work of fiction is in some ways a metaphor for a part of the human experience.”
*This reader’s first episode on Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel can be found HERE!
This reader highly recommends The Great Courses, and notes that there is a great lecture series on the French Revolution.
Podcast on the history of philosophy with a RSS feed dedicated to Philosophy in India.
I’m Currently reading:
Complete Stories – Dorothy Parker