The answer is actually both. Hofstadter introduces a lot of compelling topics in an interesting and insightful way, but his overall theories on everything fall flat. Like, it's a good book to learn about Godel's theorems, topics in computer science, and biology, but his ultimate explanation for how this ties into consciousness or the fabric of the universe or somesuch has little substance. Nonetheless, it's fun.
>>7634427 i throughly enjoyed it. That said, you have to take it with a grain of salt. Its not trying to be a guide to the universe, more of an innocent "hey look, these things exist and they are cool" sort of experience with lovely dialogues inbetween. Be sure to read up on the chinese-room though experiment after the part about the turing test, though.
>>7634427 It's a pretty awesome book. It teaches you about formal systems in an easy to grasp manner. It doesn't have anything interesting to say about art, music, consciousness, philosophy, etc. despite the pretensions of its author, but it is very good at communicating ideas about logic, and the various asides are at least thought-provoking.
It isn't by far psuedointellectual. But nearly all examples from the scientific world are somewhat outdated nowdays.
I'd say even the philosophical considerations about science don't hold up anymore (read: back then he didn't know about computers, the internet and so on)
What still holds true is this strange dichotomy between free will and determinism. I think this book has the best explanation for free well (read: even simple recursion/feedback loops systems can't be predicted [just calculated or estimated])
But if you are only interested in this part, read "I am a strange loop" by the same guy. Supposed not to be as convoluted and bloated as GEB. IRRC Hofstadter wrote it, becaus this last point was his most central one, and many people missed out on it in GEB because of all this bloat which again ist somewhat outdated to day...
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