Modern Philosophy

Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid
by Douglas Hofstadter

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid applies Gödel's seminal contribution to modern mathematics to the study of the human mind and the development of artificial intelligence. Aside from being a profound and entertaining meditation on human thought and creativity, this book looks at the surprising points of contact between the music of Bach, the artwork of Escher, and the mathematics of Gödel. It also looks at the prospects for computers and artificial intelligence for mimicking human thought. Twenty years after it topped the bestseller charts, the book is still something of a marvel.

Borrowing a page from Lewis Carroll, 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 and Escher's continually paradoxical artwork are plentiful. This more approachable material lets the reader 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. Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid is also the recipient of the American Book Award in the Science category in 1980.

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About the Author

Widely respected as one of the world's great thinkers, Douglas Hofstadter is known by his contemporaries as a warm, witty, and engaging fellow. His many credentials include: Ph.D. in physics, University of Oregon, 1975; Pulitzer Prize (General Nonfiction category), 1980, American Book Award (Science Hardback category), 1980, for Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid; Guggenheim Fellow, 1980-81. Fans of Le Ton beau de Marot will be delighted to see his meticulous theories of translation put into practice in his English language translation of Alexander Pushkin's novel-in-verse: Eugene Onegin

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