“How is it that when I make these noises I succeed in performing speech acts or communication?” he asks. “That’s the philosophy of language.” That investigation led to an exploration of consciousness. “How is it possible that the stuff inside my skull can cause consciousness, and I can direct thoughts?” he asks.
That pursuit led to considerations about society. “We create society with language. We use language to create marriage and cocktail parties and money and so on,” says Searle. “These things all exist, but only because we think they exist.”
by Douglas R. Hofstadter, Ph.D.
& Daniel C. Dennett, Ph.D.
Capsule Review: A fascinating tour of fundamental issues too often ignored or finessed.
Philosopher scientists Hofstadtler and Dennett offer an anthology of probing essays along with their own running commentary on the topics of identity, consciousness, and reductionism vs. holism. More compelling and less of a challenge to read than Hofstadtler’s more famous book, Goëdel, Escher and Bach, it nonetheless guides the reader to reconsider many of his assumptions about what he is and where he fits in the world.
The book, unfortunately, was written just as complexity theory was (more…)