Review of The Minds I by Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel Dennet (1981)

Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization Michael Starks 3rd Ed. (2017) (2017)
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Abstract

Variable quality essays dominated by reductionist nonsense. This is a followup to Hofstadter´s famous Godel, Escher, Bach (1980). Like its predecessor, it is concerned largely with the foundations of artificial intelligence, but it is composed mostly of stories, essays and extracts from a wide range of people, with a few essays by DH and DD and comments to all of the contributions by one or the other of them. For my views on the attempts of D and H to understand behaviour see my review of D's " I am a Strange Loop. " Much of it is very reductionistic in tone (ie, " explains " everything in terms of physics/math and denies " reality " of psychology) but as Hofstadter notes, the quantum field equations of a water molecule are too complex to solve (and so is a vacuum)and nobody has a clue about how to explain the way properties emerge(eg, water properties from H2 and 02) as you go up the scale from the vacuum to the brain, so reductionism, like holism, requires a great deal of faith and in fact is incoherent as one cannot even frame it's arguments without presupposing the coherence of higher order thought. Additional problems for reductionism are the uncertainty principle, chaos (eg, no way to predict how a pile of sand will fall) and the logically necessary incompleteness of math (and all thought). In sum, though there are many interesting comments, like nearly all writing on behavior this work lacks any coherent account of the logical structure of rationality which I give in my more recent writings. Those wishing a comprehensive up to date framework for human behavior from the modern two systems view may consult my book ‘The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle’ 2nd ed (2019). Those interested in more of my writings may see ‘Talking Monkeys--Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet--Articles and Reviews 2006-2019 3rd ed (2019), The Logical Structure of Human Behavior (2019), and Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century 4th ed (2019)

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