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GEB was a considerable waste of time and contributed nothing to my understanding of intelligence or AI. The time would have been be better spent elsewhere.

If you want to understand Godel's proofs then I recommend the book "Godel's Proof" by Ernest Nagel and James R. Newman:

http://www.amazon.com/Gödels-Proof-Ernest-Nagel/dp/081475837...

Instead of Hofstadter's GEB, read some of his papers, e.g., "Analogy as the Core of Cognition" http://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/hofstadter/analogy.h...

But there are others who have focused longer on analogy, e.g., George Lakoff:

"Metaphors we Live by"

http://www.amazon.com/Metaphors-We-Live-George-Lakoff/dp/022...

"Where Mathematics Come From: How The Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics Into Being":

http://www.amazon.com/Where-Mathematics-Come-Embodied-Brings...

"Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things"

http://www.amazon.com/Women-Fire-Dangerous-Things-Lakoff/dp/...




GEB's purpose wasn't to provide a comprehensive understanding of Godel's proofs. Nor was it trying to explain AI. It was a very personal book of thinking about thinking, basically. If you aren't a native English speaker then the book might have been less effective.

I own the Nagel and Newman book and probably read it every two years or so.

I also own the FARG book which summarises the work of the Fluid Analogies group. I don't think these papers are as interesting or exhilarating as GEB so I have to disagree with you there.


I don't agree with your dismissal of the work, but this is a very constructive comment on the whole with many interesting references and should not have been downvoted.


I added the references later so that's the cause for down voting.

I didn't really dismiss the book: I read it attentively in it's entirety and, as anyone who has read it knows, that is a big book. But in the end I found nothing new or thought-provoking. Entertaining, yes; enlightening, no. "Where's the beef?" came to mind over and over as I moved through the text.

Hofstadter is certainly bright, has a voluminous memory and can be an entertaining writer but GEB is not IMO a contribution to AI. My expectations were undoubtedly too high.




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