Summer Reading — Around GEB

I have already written about my fascination with Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach (fascination that I share with many practitioners of AI). Although I am, relatively, a latecomer, ever since I’ve read the book, my enchantment with it has never ceased to grow.

The book will be turning 35 next May, and in order to celebrate the occasion, I am very pleased to offer the postgraduate students the course “35 years of Gödel, Escher, Bach — Commented and Extended Reading of a Masterpiece of Artificial Intelligence”. With its philosophical slant, that course is a major depart from my usual offerings, which are focused on technical aspects of Statistical Learning and Multimedia Information Retrieval. I asked my colleagues on other departments (Linguistics, Social Sciences, Philosophy, etc.) to diffuse the syllabus among their students, and I am crossing my fingers that I’ll have a diverse classroom. My promise was :

“The target audience are postgraduate students in all knowledge areas, interested in Artificial Intelligence and Philosophy of Mind. I will not assume any previous knowledge, neither in Philosophy, neither in Logic, nor in Computer Sciences. During the course we will brave advanced topics of Computing Theory and untangle very hairy Logic and Math : if you’re afraid of those stuff, this will be a great opportunity of losing your fear.”

The course is also an opportunity for me to attack themes of Metalogic and Metamathematics, which I love, but seldom have the opportunity to study in earnest. They say that the best way to rest the mind is to work on different problems — and this is exactly what I’m doing during the short end-of-year University recess. I’ve put my studies in Statistics, and Computational Geometry on hold, escaped to the country, and brought another stack of books with me :

Summer Reading — The Annotated Turing (Petzold); Undecidable Theories (Tarski); From a Logical Point of View (Quine); Theory dos Conjuntos: Um Mínimo (Miraglia); The Mathematics of Logic (Kaye); Roads do Infinity (Stillwell); Quine — A Guide for the Perplexed (Kemp); Gödel's Proof (Nagel, Newman); Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid (Hofstadter)


By the by, I wish everyone a great 2014 !

7 thoughts on “Summer Reading — Around GEB

  1. Prof Eduardo, também sou fã e li o livro. Não sei se seria possível mas se rolasse transmissão à distância ou gravação das aulas eu teria prazer em assisti-las. Muito sucesso no curso!

  2. Hey Edu! Really cool initiative! I remember GEB being one of the big influences on my interests on hardcore AI. If you at some point make a remote course, let me know – though nowadays I spend most of my non work time reading about finance, management, customer support and sales, GEB and logic could be, as you mentioned, a great way to rest the mind, out of everyday-so-human-and-political problems and into the nice realm of logic, math and philosophy. 😉

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