Douglas Hofstadter �I am a Strange Loop� February, 2008 by jordanbetts

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									  Douglas Hofstadter “I am a Strange Loop”
    February, 2008 NIH BCIG Book Club
       Gerald McLaughlin, PhD (Jerry)
           Presenter Description

• Berkeley AB, Biochemistry. Psychology, Philosophy
  minors
• PhD U Iowa, Postdocs NIH Notre Dame, NSF TAMU,
  NRC CDC, biomedical research
• 1987-1999- Professor, Urbana-Champaign, Purdue U,
  IN U School Medicine, biomedical research
• 1999, Director, Exponential Therapeutics, Inc.
• 2000-2007- Extramural Review NIH, broad spectrum
  of topics
• Hobbies: Reading, philosophy
                          Chapter 13
              The Elusive Apple of My “I”

• Hypothesizes  that the large emergent drives the small, and
the large components interact at higher emergent levels of
ideas and concepts. Envelope marble “epi” emergent
property; “I” is also not a “real marble” nor a “pearl necklace”
of neurocircuit(s). “I” is an emergent property and an
abstraction of many unseen dynamic small components
whose nature is irrelevant; larger patterns are key to “I”.

• “I” is postulated to allow imaging/projecting past and future
events. Although this is not a main Hofstadter theme these
seem to be adaptive and defining human features.
                                -
           Chapter 13 (Continued)
         The Elusive Apple of My “I”
• I” is an efficient shorthand that refines and grows
  with age and experience…what works better as self-
  identity gets “locked-in”; Hopalong; backetball;
  Douggie…postulates essentially Tabula Raza (blank
  slate) at birth regarding the “strange loop” of the “I”.
• Ideal vs real self; pressure to maintain the myth to
  function in society.
• There are gradations of “I” size and nature
  phylogenetically and otherwise.
• Current robot computers lack the “I” concept;
  examples emphasize the absence of emotion and
  empathy.
       Chapter 14 – Strangeness in the
             “I” of the Beholder


• Attacks Russell’s Principia’s attempt to
  remove “I”-ness (also a guideline for
  classical scientific writing). Praises Goedel,
  who presented a more complex mathematics
  than Russell’s constructs.
• Postulates “Squirting Chemicals” as
  irrelevant to higher behaviors, e.g. “why
  carbon” or organic chemistry as a basis of
  brain consciousness. Attacks Searle’s
  anatomic basis (e.g. maps of the body in
  brain) of consciousness.
      Chapter 14 – Strangeness in the
      “I” of the Beholder (Continued)
• Analogies to illustrate concepts: 1. “Dancing
  simmballs” in the “careenium”; 2. Alfbert visits
  Austranius warning about poison strings, prim
  numbers; 3. High Level adequacy? A physicist’s
  verision of neurobiochemistry, cell biology and
  psychotropic drugs?
• ”I” (and much more) grows due to our ability to have
  feedback loop(s). There is a reverse of causality
  toward the (still-functional and adaptive) illusion that
  “I” drives activity; “I” is an emergent and usually a
  robust property through one’s life.
• Praises Sperry’s concept of a higher brain model
  based on significant evolutionary advance(s) due to
  interacting mental forces, a “burstwise” evolutionary
  emergence “far beyond” even the concept of “cell”.
     Chapter 15: Entwinement
• Multiple Strange Loops in One Brain develop
  uniquely. There is a locus of a multiplicity of
  “I”’s.
• Content-free Metaphors. Neonates lack “I”
  strange loop.
• Entwined Feedback Loops. Analogies
  include cameras of particular resolution, size
  of screens, and movements.
• One Privileged Loop? Distinct Identity?
  Stories, Shared perceptions, related people,
  joined people.
        Chapter 15: Entwinement
              (Continued)
• Shared Perception, Shared Control. Language/body
  identity.
• Twinworld fantasy of grilz and boyz analogy to
  “twin” identity of individual or real sibling twins;UU
  one or two. Suggests the split brain phenomenon
  e.g. the two cerebral hemispheres of Sperry; that we
  are twins of a sort. Offers Siamese level twin
  analogy.
• Soulmates and Matesouls. Marriage (soulmates,
  “pleasant couple, charming bridal pair”), children
  (Gluon) analogies. Cites translatable novels,
  poems...
• Postulates that strange loops are highly adaptive for
  a social animal; shared hopes and dreams...
                Chapter 13 Evaluation
           The Elusive Apple of My “I”

•The large emergent drives the small; envelope marble “epi”
emergent property; claims “I” is not a “pearl necklace”
neurocircuit(s) but an abstraction; importantly, “I” allows
imaging/projecting past future. A lazy example?
•An efficient shorthand; refines/grows with age/experience;
what works for self-identity gets “locked-in”; Hopalong;
Douggie… True, trivial.
•Gradations of “I” size/nature phylogenetically and otherwise.
True, trivial.
•Current robot computers lack “I” concept. Examples seem
addressable, do not prohibit incorporation of “I” features.

                               -
    Chapter 14 – Strangeness in the “I”
       of the Beholder (Evaluation)
•   Attacks Russell’s Principia’s claimed attempt to remove “I”-ness, a
    guideline of classical scientific methods. Scorns Russell, loves Goedel,
    but Goedel built from Russell’s constructs.
•   Are “Squirting Chemicals” irrelevant to higher behaviors, e.g. “why
    carbon”? Analogies attempting to illustrate concepts: 1. “Dancing
    simmballs” in the “careenium”; 2. Alfbert visits Austranius warning
    about poison strings, prim numbers; 3. High Level adequacy? Naïve,
    and counter to neurobiochemistry, cell biology and psychotropic drugs.
•   -”I” grows due to ability to have feedback loop. There is a reverse of
    causality toward the (still-functional and adaptive) illusion that “I”
    drives activity; “I” is an emergent robust property. Plausible.
•   Praises Sperry’s concept of a higher brain model based on significant
    evolutionary advance(s) due to interacting mental forces, a
    “burstwise” emergence “far beyond” even the concept of “cell”. A
    fascinating claim although Sperry’s, not Hofstadter’s.
 Chapter 15: Entwinement (Evaluation)
• Multiple Strange Loops in One Brain that develop with
  time uniquely. Plausible.
• Metaphor of cameras of particular resolution and
  movements; entwined feedback loops. Interesting.
• Shared perceptions, control of relating people, joined
  people; Twinworld grilz and boyz analogy to “twin”
  identity of individual. Split brain phenomenon of two
  cerebral hemispheres; we are twins of a sort; marriage
  (soulmates), children (Gluon) analogies); translatable
  novels, poems…adaptive for a social animal?
  Interesting, plausible, uncertain how new.
       Overall Summary Evaluation,
             Chapters 13-15
•   Chapter 13, The Elusive Apple of My “I”. Mostly hand waving and
    irrelevant analogies.
•   Chapter 14, Strangeness in the “I” of the Beholder. Russell and Searle
    are inappropriately slandered, and Principia’s principles are IMO
    irrelevant to hypotheses about the nature of “I”. Mostly, analogies and
    metaphors that are inappropriate and fail. A bright spot is that Sperry, the
    greatest experimental neurobiologist, is appropriately praised and may be
    introduced to a new generation (Sperry however, was a failure in his
    attempt to address neurobiology and social issues “Science and Morality”;
    and as Hofstadter points out, neurobiologists remain unwilling/unable to
    address related issues.
•   Chapter 15: Entwinement. Multiple Strange Loops in One Brain.
    Postulates entwined feedback loops with emergent properties include
    shared perceptions, social and cultural and family relationships. A
    possibly important idea that deserves follow-up. Copernicus?
•   These and other ramblings are those of a wunderkindt who avoided
    rigorous in-depth learning of science or philosophy, but who remains a
    potentially valuable generalist.

								
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