Strange Loop

A strange loop is a cyclic structure that goes through several levels in a hierarchical system. It arises when, by moving only upwards or downwards through the system, one finds oneself back where one started. Strange loops may involve self-reference and paradox. The concept of a strange loop was proposed and extensively discussed by Douglas Hofstadter in Godel, Escher, Bach, and is further elaborated in Hofstadter's book I Am a Strange Loop, published in 2007.

Hofstadter had previously expressed disappointment with how Gödel, Escher, Bach, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980 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?" Hofstadter seeks to remedy this problem in I Am a Strange Loop by focusing and expounding on the central message of Gödel, Escher, Bach. He demonstrates how the properties of self-referential systems, demonstrated most famously in Kurt Godel's incompleteness theorems, can be used to describe the unique properties of minds.[2]

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