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Douglas R. Hofstadter


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Douglas Richard Hofstadter is an American scholar of cognitive science, physics, and comparative literature whose research focuses on consciousness, thinking, and creativity. He is best known for his book Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, first published in 1979, for which he was awarded the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction.

Hofstadter is the son of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Robert Hofstadter. Douglas grew up on the campus of Stanford University, where his father was a professor. Douglas attended the International School of Geneva for a year. He graduated with a Distinction in Mathematics from Stanford in 1965. He spent a few years in Sweden in the mid-1960s. He continued his education and received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Oregon in 1975.

Hofstadter is a College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science at Indiana University in Bloomington. He directs the Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition, which consists of himself and his graduate students, forming the "Fluid Analogies Research Group" (FARG). He was initially appointed to the Indiana University's Computer Science Department faculty in 1977. At that time, he launched his research program in computer modeling of mental processes (which at that time he called "artificial intelligence research," a label that he has since dropped in favor of "cognitive science research"). In 1984, he moved to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he was hired as a professor of psychology and was also appointed to the Walgreen Chair for the Study of Human Understanding. In 1988 he returned to Bloomington as "A College of Arts and Sciences Professor" in both Cognitive Science and Computer Science. Also, he was appointed Adjunct Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, Philosophy, Comparative Literature, and Psychology, but he states that his involvement with most of these departments is nominal.

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Gödel, Escher, Bach