The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul
Hofstadter (Douglas) & Dennett (Daniel), Eds.
This Page provides (where held) the Abstract of the above Book and those of all the Papers contained in it.
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Inside Cover Blurb

  1. In this unique, mind-jolting book, Douglas Hofstadter, the author of Godel, Escher, Bach, the intellectual best seller that won the 1980 Pulitzer Prize, and philosopher Daniel Dennett, author of the widely acclaimed Brainstorms, explore the meaning of self and consciousness through the perspectives of literature, artificial intelligence, psychology, and much more.
  2. What — if anything — is the soul? Here is a book that goes as deeply into the problem of self and self-consciousness1 as anything written before. But instead of dreary, jargon-filled arguments, the reader will encounter strange thought experiments2, mind-boggling fantasies, and humorous dialogues, all designed to entice the imagination into new and unexpected places.
  3. In selections that range from the fiction of Borges and Stanislaw Lem to scientific speculations about thinking machines, artificial intelligence, and the nature of the brain, Hofstadter and Dennett present a variety of conflicting visions of the self and the soul, each with its own truth and dangerous simplifications.
  4. This remarkable book has something to upset everyone—the hard-nosed materialist as well as the believer in spirits and reincarnation. But, like Godel, Escher, Bach and Brainstorms, it is a work of both art and science that will instruct, charm, and delight for years to come.

BOOK COMMENT:

Basic Books, NY, 1981



"Borges (Jorge Luis) - Borges and I"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Borges (Jorge Luis) - The Circular Ruins"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Cherniak (Christopher) - The Riddle of the Universe and Its Solution"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Dawkins (Richard) - Selfish Genes and Selfish Memes"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Dennett (Daniel) - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul: Introduction"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Harding (D.E.) - On Having No Head"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Hofstadter (Douglas) - A Conversation with Einstein's Brain"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Hofstadter (Douglas) - Prelude … Ant Fugue"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Hofstadter (Douglas) - The Turing Test: A Coffeehouse Conversation"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Hofstadter (Douglas) & Dennett (Daniel) - Reflections of Nagel's What Is It Like To Be a Bat?"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Hofstadter (Douglas) & Dennett (Daniel) - Reflections of Searle's Minds, Brains, And Programs"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul

COMMENT: Comments on "Searle (John) - Minds, Brains, and Programs".



"Leiber (Justin) - Beyond Rejection"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul


The (male) protagonist wakes up in a female body, the result of a mind implant



"Lem (Stanislaw) - Non Serviam"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Lem (Stanislaw) - The Princess Ineffabelle"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Lem (Stanislaw) - The Seventh Sally or How Trurl's Own Perfection Led to No Good"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Miedaner (Terrel) - The Soul of Martha, a Beast"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Miedaner (Terrel) - The Soul of the Mark III Beast"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Morowitz (Harold J.) - Rediscovering the Mind"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Nagel (Thomas) - What is it Like to Be a Bat?"

Source: Block, Flanagan & Guzeldere - The Nature of Consciousness


Author’s Introduction
  1. Consciousness is what makes the mind-body problem really intractable. Perhaps that is why current discussions of the problem give it little attention or get it obviously wrong. The recent wave of reductionist euphoria has produced several analyses of mental phenomena and mental concepts designed to explain the possibility of some variety of materialism, psychophysical identification, or reduction.
  2. But the problems dealt with are those common to this type of reduction and other types, and what makes the mind-body problem unique, and unlike the water-H20 problem or the Turing machine-IBM machine problem or the lightning-electrical discharge problem or the gene-DNA problem or the oak tree-hydrocarbon problem, is ignored.


COMMENT:



"Nozick (Robert) - Fiction"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Rucker (Rudy) - Software"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Sanford (David H.) - Where Was I?"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Searle (John) - Minds, Brains, and Programs"

Source: Rosenthal - The Nature of Mind
Write-up Note1

Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. I distinguish between strong and weak artificial intelligence (AI).
  2. According to strong AI, appropriately programmed computers literally have cognitive states, and therefore the problems are psychological theories.
  3. I argue that strong AI must be false, since a human agent could instantiate the program and still not have the appropriate mental states.
  4. I examine some arguments against this claim, and I explore some consequences of the fact that human and animal brains are the causal bases of existing phenomena.

BBS-Online
  • This article can be viewed as an attempt to explore the consequences of two propositions.
    1. Intentionality in human beings (and animals) is a product of causal features of the brain I assume this is an empirical fact about the actual causal relations between mental processes and brains. It says simply that certain brain processes are sufficient for intentionality.
    2. Instantiating a computer program is never by itself a sufficient condition of intentionality. The main argument of this paper is directed at establishing this claim
  • The form of the argument is to show how a human agent could instantiate the program and still not have the relevant intentionality.
  • These two propositions have the following consequences
    1. The explanation of how the brain produces intentionality cannot be that it does it by instantiating a computer program. This is a strict logical consequence of 1 and 2.
    2. Any mechanism capable of producing intentionality must have causal powers equal to those of the brain. This is meant to be a trivial consequence of 1.
    3. Any attempt literally to create intentionality artificially (strong AI) could not succeed just by designing programs but would have to duplicate the causal powers of the human brain. This follows from 2 and 4.

Another Abstract
  1. "Could a machine think?"
  2. On the argument advanced here only a machine could think, and only very special kinds of machines, namely brains and machines with internal causal powers equivalent to those of brains.
  3. And that is why strong AI has little to tell us about thinking, since it is not about machines but about programs, and no program by itself is sufficient for thinking.


COMMENT:



"Smullyan (Raymond) - An Epistemological Nightmare"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Smullyan (Raymond) - An Unfortunate Dualist"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Smullyan (Raymond) - Is God a Taoist?"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Turing (Alan) - Computing Machinery and Intelligence"

Source: Haugeland - Mind Design II


Philosophers Index Abstract
    In this article the author considers the question "can machines think?" the import of the discussion is on "imitation intelligence" as the author proposes that the best strategy for a machine to have is one that tries to provide answers that would naturally be given by man. (Staff)


COMMENT:



"Wheelis (Allen) - Spirit"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



"Zuboff (Arnold) - The Story of a Brain"

Source: Hofstadter & Dennett - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul



Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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