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.
Pages to are hidden for
"Douglas Hofstadter �I am a Strange Loop� February, 2008"Please download to view full document