Talk:Douglas Hofstadter

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?It's not entirely true he doesn't publish in conventional academic journals, though it is true he certainly prefers books and by volume does not publish nearly as much in journals as someone of his stature might be expected to. He does however publish in some; in particular, his papers on Copycat appear in quite a few places. --Delirium 12:13, Apr 25, 2004 (UTC)

Added disambig[edit]

Added a lot of disambiguation stuff at Hofstadter - got lost myself trying to find Douglas Hofstadter. --Etaonish 18:39, Aug 21, 2004 (UTC)


As pilinguality is not mentioned in Pi (what it links onto), maybe it could be explained here? Currently, this remark stays a little mystical. --Oop 20:49, Nov 11, 2004 (UTC)

'he describes himself as "Pilingual", fluent in Pi languages' --Mporter 11:54, 1 Jan 2005 (UTC)Mporter
I would guess he's playing that he knows somewhat more than 3 languages when he says that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:20, 5 December 2007 (UTC)


Hey, you think we should add that pic of Hofstadter on his homepage linked in External links? --maru (talk) contribs 06:11, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

You could ask for permission, but the page itself is clearly: Copyright 2004, The Trustees of Indiana University. here 23:39, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
Ever hear of fair use? --maru (talk) contribs 03:41, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
Does that mean I can put any picture from anywhere onto my web site, as long as I write a few words about its subject?

Book of the book[edit]

I removed this part:

Apparently, Idries Shah has attempted this, or at least something similar, with The Book of the Book (ISBN 0-900860-12-X).

It seems that the book of the book is not really filled with reviews but rather with empty pages. [1]. Moreover, no non-wikipedia page mentions hofstadters name in connection to it. It seems to me it is rather unrelated. Sander123 12:25, 8 January 2007 (UTC)


An anonymous editor recently removed te follow text:

This book is commonly considered to have inspired many students to begin careers in computing and artificial intelligence, and attracted substantial notice outside its central artificial intelligence readership owing to its drawing on themes from such diverse disciplines as high-energy physics, molecular biology, music, the visual arts, literature as well as philosophy.

Their edit summary said "In a recent interview, Douglas expressed concern about misleading information written on his wikipedia page in relation to inspiring students to start careers related to computers and artificial int.."

I tried to find this interview, but either my Google-fu is too weak or it's not online. I believe the paragraph should be restored and retained since it is my subjective impression that I see GEB-as-inspirational all over the place. --Gwern (contribs) 03:33 1 April 2007 (GMT)

Ex, from Hofstadter himself:

"What the book did do was excite a lot of young people. Hundreds of people have written to me saying it launched them on a path of studying computer science or cognitive science or philosophy. And that's always nice. But often it's treated as fiuff [sic]."[2]

(So don't go saying I made the impression up! :) --Gwern (contribs) 03:48 1 April 2007 (GMT)

The interview is in today's New York Times Magazine: [3] Questions for Douglas Hofstadter: The Mind Reader (by Deborah Solomon). jhawkinson 13:06, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

And here are the relevant questions...

Q. Your entry in Wikipedia says that your work has inspired many students to begin careers in computing and artificial intelligence.

A. I have no interest in computers. The entry is filled with inaccuracies, and it kinds of depresses me.

Q. So fix it.

A. The next day someone will fix it back.

--Ron Ritzman 14:52, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm not entirely sure that the interview can be trusted - he has no interest in computers? and it is on April Fools, as someone pointed out (and how likely is it a NY Times interviewer would say {{sofixit}}?). Even so, the exact wording doesn't support the anon's removal - the comment seems to be general, as in, "the entry [as a whole] is filled with errors". So I guess I'll probably restore it eventually. --Gwern (contribs) 17:06 1 April 2007 (GMT)
The New York Times doesn't do April Fools stuff. And in any case, the interview must have taken place days or weeks earlier. 17:15, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
The interview is legit. I am tagging for inaccuracies until we figure out what exactly the problems are. Anyone up for e-mailing him? BrokenSegue 14:14, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
That would be original research, forbidden by Wikipedia.
I like the idea of a self-referential Wikipedia entry which says, "This entry is filled with inaccuracies." Other entries are too, but they don't warn you. Nbauman 17:27, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
LOL-- that's brilliant!
It's a misunderstanding of OR to argue that emailing him to get a list of errors so we can research them; anyway, it's foolish to argue that if we don't have sources for statements and the subject says they are wrong, then we shouldn't remove those statements. --Gwern (contribs) 17:55 2 April 2007 (GMT)
I don't like the idea of Wikipedia articles with inaccuracies. BrokenSegue 18:16, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

If you read the interview, he never actually says that it's incorrect to say the GEB has inspired people to study CS. Should we put that line back? Perhaps with a reference to the wired article mentioned above? BrokenSegue 18:16, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

I dunno, but seem to recall that this particular section was questioned before. Look a bit in the history but coudn't find it though. To me it reads like weaseling though. An unsourced fan statement like that I don't miss at all. Much rather I'd see a sourced quote of one single guy claiming he studied [x] because of geb than what the anon removed. Sander123 11:06, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

At his talk about 'I am a Strange Loop' on April 2 2007 at Indiana University, he began with an amusing commentary-laced read-through of Deborah Solomon's interview, describing how his answers to her questions were chopped and made into soundbites, and the questions were not presented in the same order in the publication as they were presented to him. I wish I'd taken notes so I could assert his position one way or another authoritatively, or at least so I could quote him more accurately, but he did address this particular inspiration dispute and how he felt his interview answers were often way out of context to the questions. If anyone else was at this lecture, please add anything specific you remember. Prof. Hofstadter did wear the exact same outfit to this lecture as he wore for the photograph for the Times interview, and stood up holding the photo in the same pose. I found it an amusing way for him to introduce self-reference and/or feedback loops as his subject matter to an audience whose members had not all been familiar with his books. Katyism 04:25, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

That New York Times Magazine feature (they do an interview like that every week) has a style that's strongly into "sound bites", with short and flippant questions and answers that give an extremely shallow impression of the person being interviewed. *Dan T.* 11:37, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
So let's see what we've got here.
Hofstadter has disputed the accuracy of this Wikipedia entry in an interview in the New York Times.
However, Hofstadter has also disputed the accuracy of his interview in the New York Times. Nbauman 13:39, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Great. Now all we need is for Hofstadter to edit this page and say that his lecture was inaccurate about how the NY Times interview was inaccurate... o.0 --Gwern (contribs) 16:05 3 April 2007 (GMT)

The factual accuracy of this article is disputed[edit]

I think this is not the appropriate use of the tag. Disputing an article must be done by somebody. Now there is nobody who can explain what the perceived problems are. Unless somebodies disputes that accuracy himself and can argue with me about it, this tag is not helpful. As an alternative we can add the disclaimer to the article that Hofstadter disputes the accuracy. Sander123 11:09, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

The disputing is being done by Hofstadter himself. We could e-mail him to find out exactly what his problems are. Why can't the disputed tag serve as a more general version of the disclaimer you are suggesting? BrokenSegue 14:24, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Unless someone can provide a description of what about the article is disputed and how it could be fixed, we should remove the tag. —mako (talkcontribs) 01:29, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
BrokenSegue, for wikipedia this is not a bad article actually, it reasonably sourced and it has a neutral point view. So there is not much we can do to fix this. Mailing Hofstadter himself does not help since it violates WP:NOR. Thus unless the person who added the tag can tell me what it is he disputed I think we should remove the tag. That Hofstadter disputes the article is a fact which we can add to the article together with a source. Sander123 14:13, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
No. Mailing him for a list of errors is not a violation of WP:NOR. Citing his list as the source for any changes would violate NOR, but we do not have to do that. Please read the above comment by Gwern. I don't see what the issue here is. We know there are errors in the article (via the NYTimes interview) so it is only fair to warn visitors with the tag. BrokenSegue 15:57, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
First of all, to get this out of the way, have you, or do you intend to, email Hofstadter? If not, lets stop talking about it. Second, although I admit it would be great if answered it is not directly useable as a source. Not only is it OR, it is not verifiable either. So, to me, what it looks like, we have a tag here without any means of getting rid of it. Sander123 05:41, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Here is the quotation from the article:

Q: Your entry in Wikipedia says that your work has inspired many students to begin careers in computing and artificial intelligence.
A: I have no interest in computers. The entry is filled with inaccuracies, and it kind of depresses me.
Q: So fix it.
A: The next day someone will fix it back.

Since he himself doesn't show any interest in the improvement of the article and doesn't point out what the inaccuracies are, his statement doesn't help. He also seems to be purposely polemic: it is certainly not true that he has no interest in computers. The tag must go: a disputed article is one on which editors disagree on something, there is a discussion, and no agreement can be reached. This is not the case. Eubulide 13:50, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

And furthermore, the article doesn't even say that Hofstadter is interested in computers. It says that his work inspired other people to be interested in it. Maybe it wasn't Hofstadter's desired outcome, but that doesn't make it somehow inaccurate. (Not that it's conclusive, but I personally was given the book by a friend who is a computer engineer). It looks like Hofstadter just wanted to get off a churlish remark or two against "the nerd culture that centers on computers" and that includes those of us who believe in Wikipedia. --JayHenry 16:29, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm not surprised to read that Hofstadter is disappointed in this article. It's basically a rudimentary biography - "Hofstadter holds numerous academic credentials; he is multilingual; he is interested in various things" - with a bunch of trivial facts, lists, and quotes tacked on in no particular order. Is it really necessary to include such digressive information such as "Hofstadter is also a vegetarian"? Why is Egbert B. Gebstadter's article more coherent than this one?

vegetarism is important for a Philosophy or Mind -- in fact he devotes a whole chapter of Strange Loop to his (recently aquired) vegetarianism and its relation to the souls of animals. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 11:39, 23 April 2007 (UTC).
Agreed. The article by Martin Gardner says that Hofstadter is now vegan, so I have edited the text accordingly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:22, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

The Biography section needs to be updated and expanded - what happened between 1975 and 2005? - and there should perhaps be more in the Biography about Hofstadter as an author. Do any of his books include a good biography? The "Douglas Hofstadter's home page" link seems useful. Also, the 'trivia' entry about Hofstadter's criticism of his Wikipedia article is completely unnecessary and comes across as a weak joke about self-reference. The New York Times Magazine article is obviously a poor source of anything except trite soundbites, which this article already has plenty of.

I don't mean to be overly critical but it's hodgepodge articles like this that bring out the worst aspects of collaborative authoring.Killick 05:46, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

The "homepage" is just a single academic page. This article is so weak between 1975 and 2005 because coverage is on his ideas and not his life. As best as I can figure, the only work with any substantive biographical coverage is Le Ton de Beau Marot, and from what I remember of my one reading years ago, about all he says in there is that he had some number of kids and his wife tragically died somehow (in the early 1990s? It's been a while, as I said). --Gwern (contribs) 06:23 14 April 2007 (GMT)

I agree that the factual accuracy tag should be removed. If there is a problem with completeness, i.e. lack of information between 1975 and 2005, then that is one issue, but has nothing to do with factual accuracy. In addition lack of organization or the addition of "digressive information" has nothing to do with factual accuracy. I also think that Douglas Hofstadter is not really the correct judge of this article. If he states that there are factual inaccuracies then it is his responsibility to change them. I am a huge fan of Professor Hofstadter's theories and writing, but stating that the article is factually inaccurate without willing to alter it is merely attempting to disdain wikipedia. Rather, we should be focusing on the actual factual accuracy of the article based on research and outside sources. If Professor Hofstadter is unhappy with the article, he has every right to state his opinion or to alter it, but the factual accuracy relies on factual evidence, not offhand comments in interviews. -- Lagrangian 20:43 16 April 2007 (PST)


Ok, I was bold and removed the dispute tag b/c there seems, to me, to be consensus that it is inappropriate. If I'm wrong, plz add it back (and explain why here). Thank you. Zero sharp 00:55, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Agree with removing the tag. Sander123 07:49, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
Agree appears that Hofstadter was simply being churlish. --JayHenry 13:36, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
Agree. Killick 03:04, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Opinions about AI[edit]

The "I have no interest in computers" and the part where the article seems to paint him as a skeptic of artifical intelligence give the wrong picture. Nobody who's actually read his books could believe that Hofstadter does not want AI to succeed. He is skeptical of many *current efforts* and *inflated claims* in AI but not of the basic goals of AI.

From page 519 of Le Ton Beau de Marot:

"Once one catches onto this trend of nonsensical exaggeration, it's enough to make one so cynical as to discount the entire endeavor of AI [...]. Not that *nothing* has been achieved [...] but just that small achievements and grandiose fantasies become so horribibly blurred into each other that the whole field is tainted [...].

"I find this very sad, because the quest to develop an artificially intelligent entity is a marvelous, mystical quest [...]"

I also question the part where it claims he doesn't think a computer could beat a human at chess must be some misunderstanding. Hofstadter has written rather a lot rebutting John Searle's Chinese Room analogy. It seems more likely that he would claim that, in principle, a computer could do what a human could do, while remaining skeptical of current efforts.

I recommend that anything in the Wikipedia article about Hofstadter's opinions should be verified against his own writings rather than against interviews with journalists. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 6 May 2007

Agreed. I was taken aback by the claim in this article that "Hofstadter has long predicted that computers will never be able to do many of the things which humans can do." That claim is uncited and seems inconsistent with everything of his that I have read. I wonder if this is the sort of inaccuracy that he called "depressing" in the NY Times interview. Also, the claim that he predicted that no computer would ever beat a human at chess is not cited with any reference to his own work. The reference provided is to someone else's article about him. That article asserts that Hostadter made the prediction in GEB, but it provides no specific page number.
These claims seem so inconsistent with his views that they should not appear in the article without adequate citation. I'm removing them. — Tyrrell McAllister 16:51, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

A: I have no interest in computers. The entry is filled with inaccuracies, and it kind of depresses me.
seems to be a perfectly fine statement by Douglas Hofstadter. As far as I see, computers don't matter at all in all of his works. It gives the wrong impression to me too to see his work placed in some (computer) geek territory. He actually points out very well that ant colonies also work (in GEB) or beer cans and toilet paper (in Strange Loop). Of course, computers are suitable devices to run turing machines (e.g. symbol manipulation) but it's not about the computer, it circuits, it's programming language or something else. He talks about patterns, self-reference and recursion and how this is related to a continual growth in 'souls' (in contrast to a conscious/unconscious dichotomy). -- (talk) 19:00, 14 August 2008 (UTC) (Meta7)

You guys are so funny. His statement was intended to cause a feedback loop. "This entry is filled with inaccuracies." Get it? Look into Godel's incompleteness theorems. This guy is all about feedback interference and self-reference. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:03, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

I have to agree with the previous comment. I think this is definitely Hofstadter being playful and self-referential here. No question about it. Don't miss the joke, guys. Andrewthomas10 (talk) 18:45, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

Suggestion to merge Strange loop into this article[edit]

I would like to suggest merging Strange loop into this article. I have been editing/watching Strange loop for a while, and I have to frequently deal with editors who are engaging in OR while adding what they claim are examples of strange loops to the article (many editors seem to fail to distinguish between the terms paradox, recursion, self-reference and strange loop). I think it would be better if strange loop did not have its own article, and simply had a small mention in Douglas Hofstadter, with examples taken only from Hofstadter's works. What do others think? Doctormatt 00:06, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Merging seems fine for now, though I imagine that it would deserve a full article with some expansion. However, if there are other major contributors to the term, then I would suggest it remain seperate. here 17:03, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
The essential failure of logic and understanding that underlies this suggestion/complaint about the strange loop page and the attempt to suppress it can be found in the statement “many editors seem to fail to distinguish between the terms paradox, recursion, self-reference and strange loop). paradox, recursion, self-reference and strange loop”. The terms are indeed distinct, and aspects of their base meaning certainly diverge to varying degrees. But they are not necessarily all mutually exclusive terms. Specifically, “paradox” and “strange loop” are not exclusive at all (cf "... a strange loop is a paradoxical level-crossing feedback loop ...", Douglass Hofstadter - as cited on strange loop).
This suggestion appears to flow from an ongoing campaign by one editor to control the strange loop page via censorship. This censorship - repeated reverts and deletes - is in furtherance of a personal position regarding what constitutes “legitimate” examples of strange loops. The essence of this position is laid out clearly in editor’s comments on TALK:strange loop:
This is Hofstadter's term, so I don't think there is any reason to use examples beyond what examples he gives in his works (emphasis added), unless the examples include the use of the term as well; i.e., I think examples should be of the form "person X gives Y as an example of a strange loop" with a verifiable source” (see WP:VERIFY). Doctormatt 04:23, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
Further, the core element of this position - “... this is Hofstadter’s term ...” - suggests the term itself has been trademarked and requires some sort of licensing manager (self-appointed?). This is patently ridiculous.
For a full discussion of how this doctrinaire literalism is an inappropriate approach to “examples in popular culture” go to talk:strange loop. - JTGILLICK 19:51, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
The quote from Hofstadter that you quote indicates that even Hofstadter doesn't know how to define what he is talking about (" goes a first stab..."). This is what I mean by "his" term. This is the primary reason why I think that non-Hofstadter examples of strange loops should not be included: we generally cannot be sure Hofstadter would agree that it is an example. His definitions have been far too vague. As a result, I think there is little to say about strange loops, and an entire article is unnecessary. Doctormatt 01:05, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
It doest't matter if Hofstadter would personally agree about a given example, if a reliable source attributes the term strange loop to something, then it is appropriate for inclusion. I have not, however, seen much literature using the term strange loop beyond hofstadter's own publications. here 07:23, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Absolutely. A well-sourced "person X gives Y as an example of a strange loop" would be fine. Doctormatt 16:52, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Merge I think it's probably a reasonable solution to merge, although really it should be merged more with the content of Gödel, Escher, Bach and I Am a Strange Loop where the concepts are explored. Unless people other than Hofstadter have written about Strange Loops it's difficult to write the article (this has what's led to the disputes it looks like) because we're basically just interpreting the concept for ourselves and intelligent people in good faith can interpret it quite a bit differently as seen here. --JayHenry 02:12, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Hey, Doctormatt, how about the example I've just added? It certainly fits your template of "person X gives Y as an example of a strange loop" and it's well sourced, pointing into the peer-reviewed mathematical literature. Admittedly, it has what some may see as at least a blemish, namely that the mention of the example was added to the Wikipedia page by the creator of the example (i.e., X = PaulTanenbaum), but heck, that's got just enough of a whiff of the paradoxical to be appropriate in this discussion. Besides, who better to contribute to the present discussion than an active research mathematician? My $0.02.—PaulTanenbaum 12:32, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

That's terrific that there is a cited example. Doctormatt 06:30, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

I've decided to retract my suggestion of a merge. I'd rather not inflict strange loop on another article, and I'm going to spend my energies elsewhere, as it seems there is little general interest at the moment in improving strange loop. Good luck to anyone who wants to work on it. Doctormatt 06:30, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

A wise decision. The interest in developing and improving said page is active, alive and well. It just happpens to be an interest more focused on an inclusive, rather than an exclusive approach to the matter of examples in culture (high, low, scientific, popular, et alia).
And, so, those of you with an active interest in the concept of strange loop phenomenoa and their manifestation(s) in culture are urged to explore, examine, analyze - and contribute to - both the discussion and the article. Well-sourced, well-thought out rationally defineable and rationally defensible examples of Strange Loops in popular culture are especially desireable. JTGILLICK 21:13, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 03:56, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

the personal section is clearly biased.[edit]

there isn't a bit of objectivity in the entire section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:31, 17 July 2009 (UTC)


The article claims that Hofstadter speaks Russian fairly fluently. If that is true, it must be something he has learned recently. In the first paragraph of chapter 8 of Le Ton beau de Marot, Hofstadter states that his Russian is very poor. He writes, "I've never once had a conversation in Russian."

So has he learned Russian recently? Oz1cz (talk) 11:02, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Since Le Ton beau, he has learned Russian, partly with the aid of a tutor, though I don't think he'd call himself fluent. But, this is just my say-so from having taken a course with him about translations of Eugene Onegin. We should have a proper source for this, though I think the sentence should stand as-is (true but needs a citation). —Ben Kovitz (talk) 18:18, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Personal Section[edit]

is it just me or does the personal section seem a —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dondoolee (talkcontribs) 00:47, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

I'm not seeing anything that pops out at me. Could you clarify the point a bit? Looie496 (talk) 00:56, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

The "Public Image" section seems entirely unnecessary, and the Personal section reads kind of like a "personal ad" or a "fanboy" bio and filled with ancillary info. The personal section just seems a bit too, well.... personal.

Most of the material in the Personal life section comes from things Hofstadter has said in his books, and doesn't strike me as out of place. Some of the material in the Public image section could be classed as trivia, though. Looie496 (talk) 16:03, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Change name to Douglas R. Hofstadter[edit]

According to the naming conventions:

"Generally, use the most common format of a name used in reliable sources: if that is with a middle name or an abbreviation, make the Wikipedia article title conform to that format. Examples: John F. Kennedy, Thomas John Barnardo, Annie M. G. Schmidt."

My copy of GEB is authored by Douglas R. Hofstadter. If he does go by the initial overall (in his other books, papers, et c), and it looks to me as if he does, I believe the article should be known as this as well. Quispiam (talk) 14:22, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Unless there is another Douglas Hofstadter, it makes no slightest bit of difference whether the article is Douglas Hofstadter and Douglas R. Hofstadter is a redirect, or vice versa. Looie496 (talk) 01:06, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
So why is for example Annie M. G. Schmidt an article while Annie Schmidt is a redirect? As per the Wikipedia standard, the most used form should be the article name. My question is not whether I understand the standards, it is whether the most used form is with or without the R. Quispiam (talk) 00:11, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
I just did a quick check of numbers of Google hits for each version of his name. "Douglas R. Hofstadter" gets 88,900 hits on Google, 1,510 on Google Scholar. "Douglas Hofstadter" gets 153,000 hits on Google, 2,970 on Google Scholar. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 00:42, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. So, what is the interpretation of "reliable sources"? The R use is more used on Google Scholar after all, and it is the format used on his books. Quispiam (talk) 00:26, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Actually, the R form was less common on Google Scholar as well as the main Google. I don't think this alone should decide the issue, but there it is. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 05:29, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
On, "Douglas Hofstadter" gets 300 hits, and "Douglas R. Hofstadter" gets 77 hits. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 05:50, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
Here's his Indiana University web page. He does not use the R form in his own bio. But, on his research center's list of publications, the R form is used consistently. Overall, it looks to me like the R form is what he uses when putting his name on a publication, while the plain form is the more common way that people to refer to him, though it's conceivable that more evidence could change that. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 05:50, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I must have misread the Google numbers you gave me. Well, it seems evidently the R form is less used overall both by himself and by others, and both in the scientific and the public domain, so I forfeit. :) Quispiam (talk) 23:23, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

"American Academic" ??[edit]

Since when is this a profession? Anyone who hangs out at an academy (e.g., a college or university) can accurately, if trivially be described as "an academic". What does Hofstadter actually /do/ at his academy? Is he a professor? A member of a funded research group? A lab technician? A professional graduate student? Or does he just hang-out barefoot on the campus quad, smoke dope, and write poetry on recycled napkins? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:21, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

He's a professor at Indiana University. He teaches courses, advises Ph.D. students on their research, writes books and papers, and gives talks. Pretty standard for "an academic", plus he runs a small, funded research group, as noted in the article. Please click the link; a lab technician or writer of poetry on recycled napkins is not the ordinary meaning of "an academic". —Ben Kovitz (talk) 00:45, 7 April 2011 (UTC)


I love how the article is self-referential! Very appropriate given the subject.

In April 2007, while replying to the following question by Deborah Solomon in Questions for Douglas Hofstadter: "Your entry in Wikipedia says that your work has inspired many students to begin careers in computing and artificial intelligence", he replied, "The entry is filled with inaccuracies, and it kind of depresses me." When asked why he didn't fix it, he replied, "The next day someone will fix it back."[25]

If the article is inaccurate, maybe the quote itself was not reported properly...? ;) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:13, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

I read the article and knowing Douglas very slightly, offered to fix it. He wrote back saying his complaint is now the only thing he would remove because, subsequent to the complaint, the article was improved to the point that paragraph is now "the only part I would complain about!"
Talk about self referential.  :-)
Unless someone objects in the next day or two, I am going to add that Douglas is happy with the article as of this date since the inaccuracies have been fixed.
I realize that under normal Wikipedia rules an email from the subject of an article isn't considered a "reliable source." I think an exception can be made once in a while. It's meta enough and it's hardly pushing some POV. If anyone wants to see the email from Douglas, ask. My email is on my user page. Keith Henson (talk) 03:25, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree, and hopefully improved on the meta. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:27, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Disagree, and have removed the whole bit. Email is not a reliable source, even when publically available on the web, unless quoted by secondary sources. Yworo (talk) 18:38, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Citation (of Re-Marriage etc.)[edit]

I asked DH to mention that he is happy with his Wikipedia entry next time he is interviewed and to let me know when it gets published. When that happens, there will be a citation available. Keith Henson (talk) 17:44, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Well, half a year has passed and still there is no source for this. One shouldn't have to look at the talk page to figure out where this information comes from. If you are anyway making an exception and including it based on personal correspondence, you might as well cite it, like this: "Hofstadter, Douglas. Email message to Keith Henson, <date>". Vesal (talk) 15:36, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
You are right. Fixed.
He sent me a few minor corrections and a *major* one. He got married again! I got a sort of cite for that, but the newspaper is behind a pay wall. This is better. [[4]] Keith Henson (talk) 07:24, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
That is a YouTube video. Here is an article[5]--Timtak (talk) 20:16, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, no go on citing to email. It's not a reliable or a verifiable source. Yworo (talk) 18:39, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
The way you have left it is just wrong. DH would like it fixed and as it reads now, it reflects badly on Wikipedia. How about you write him and tell him how to fix the problem. His email is here: CC me please. My email is on my user page. Keith Henson (talk) 19:31, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for fixing the category. Keith Henson (talk) 19:53, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Using an unverifiable source violates WP:V. Verifiable means that we can obtain a resource such as a book or other media through a bookstore or library. It does not include emailing people to verify. Use of email in this way constitutes original research, unless there is a secondary source that reports on the email. If there is, then use that secondary source. If not, there is nothing we can include and uphold WP:V. If you don't like how this leaves the article, take out the other Wikipedia-related material. There is no mandate to include it and WP:SELFREF actually says we shouldn't, specifically see WP:SUBJECT. In particular, there is nothing that makes this notable to the subject's life. Therefore I will go ahead and remove the whole paragraph. Yworo (talk) 20:22, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Marek Lugowski student[edit]

Marek Lugowski   – computer scientist, editor, poet, translator of Polish poetry into English[1][2][3]


  1. ^ Hofsdtadter, Douglas R., "Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies" (Preface), New York: Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-02475-0, 1995.
  2. ^ Hofstadter, Douglas R.,Le Ton beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language ("Yo Dog!, a translation into rap by Marek Lugowski), New York: Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-08645-4, 1979.
  3. ^ Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern (Iterated Prisoner Dilemma chapter, work of Marek Lugowski and Douglas R. Hofstadter at Indiana University Computer Science Department, 1982), New York: Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-04566-9, 1985.

Most of the above was removed. However, it maybe worth adding Lugowski is a poetry translator. as translating artist writing between language is one thing Hofstadter is interested in.Jonpatterns (talk) 15:26, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

I'd be ok with "Computer scientist, translator" if there's a WP:RS that speaks to Lugowski doing more than occasional translations. Garamond Lethet
15:30, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Hmmm.... this is interesting. This page doesn't list Lugowski as a past Ph.D. student. Lugowski's CV indicated that no doctorate was awarded. Academic convention is that one only lists one's graduated and current Ph.D. students, so I'm going to remove Lugowski from the list. Garamond Lethet
15:42, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
I'd be happy with "Computer scientist, translator" if someone was interested in adding Lugowski back in. Jonpatterns (talk) 16:03, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Request for Comments[edit]

There is an RfC on the question of using "Religion: None" vs. "Religion: None (atheist)" in the infobox on this and other similar pages.

The RfC is at Template talk:Infobox person#RfC: Religion infobox entries for individuals that have no religion.

Please help us determine consensus on this issue. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:05, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

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