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The Thinkers' Club Message Board › Notes on "Prelude ... Ant Fugue" from The Mind's I

Notes on "Prelude ... Ant Fugue" from The Mind's I

A former member
Post #: 22
Douglas Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid contains a series of dialogs between Achilles, the Tortoise, and a number of other characters. The structure and title of each dialog imitates the structure and title of a musical work by J. S. Bach. Thus "Prelude ... Ant Fugue" is based on one of Bach's Prelude and Fugues.

The characters of the Tortoise and Achilles were lifted by Hofstadter from a logical paradox written by Lewis Carroll in 1895. 's You can read it here:­ The Crab had figured in an earlier dialog in which the Tortoise demonstrated Godel's Theorem by manufacturing phonograph records that smashed the Crab's record player -- an incident mentioned early in the Prelude. The Anteater appears only in this dialog.

Hofstadter has stated: "[Godel, Escher, Bach] 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?" In "Prelude ... Ant Fugue", he presents an analogy about how the individual neurons of the brain coordinate to create a unified sense of a coherent mind by comparing it to the social organization displayed in a colony of ants.
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