I Am a Strange Loop

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I Am a Strange Loop
Cover of the first edition
AuthorDouglas Hofstadter
CountryUnited States
SubjectConsciousness, strange loops, intelligence
PublisherBasic Books
Publication date
March 26th, 2007
Media typePrint (hardback)
Pages412 pages
LC ClassBD438.5 .H64 2007
Preceded byGödel, Escher, Bach 

I Am a Strange Loop is a 2007 book by Douglas Hofstadter, examining in depth the concept of a strange loop to explain the sense of "I". The concept of a strange loop was originally developed in his 1979 book Gödel, Escher, Bach.

In the end, we are self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages that are little miracles of self-reference.

— Douglas Hofstadter, I Am a Strange Loop, p. 363


Hofstadter had previously expressed disappointment with how Gödel, Escher, Bach, which won the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, was received. In the preface to its 20th anniversary edition, Hofstadter laments that the book was perceived as a hodgepodge of neat things with no central theme. He states: "GEB is a very personal attempt to say how it is that animate beings can come out of inanimate matter. What is a self, and how can a self come out of stuff that is as selfless as a stone or a puddle?"[1]

Hofstadter seeks to remedy this problem in I Am a Strange Loop by focusing on and expounding the central message of Gödel, Escher, Bach. He demonstrates how the properties of self-referential systems, demonstrated most famously in Gödel's incompleteness theorems, can be used to describe the unique properties of minds.[2]

As an exploration of the sense of "I", Hofstadter explores his own life and those to whom he has been close.[3][4][5][6][7][8]

The book received favorable reviews. The Wall Street Journal referred to the book as "fascinating", "original", and "thought-provoking".[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hofstadter, Douglas R. (1999). Gödel, Escher, Bach. Basic Books. pp. P–2 (Twentieth-anniversary preface). ISBN 0-465-02656-7.
  2. ^ An Interview with Douglas R. Hofstadter, following I am a Strange Loop, by Tal Cohen, Tal Cohen's Bookshelf, June 11, 2008
  3. ^ A New Journey into Hofstadter's Mind - book review by George Johnson in Scientific American, March 2007
  4. ^ "Me, My Soul, and I". Wired. March 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
  5. ^ Author Interview by Greg Ross, American Scientist Online, March 22, 2007
  6. ^ The I's Have It - book review by John Derbyshire, The Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2007
  7. ^ The Mind Reader New York Times Magazine, April 1, 2007
  8. ^ Gardner, Martin (August 2007). "Do Loops Explain Consciousness? Review of I Am a Strange Loop" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society. 54 (#7): 853. Retrieved 2007-12-10.