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Rfi | Book Review

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've not read Shadows of the Mind, but I have read the previous book Penrose wrote, "The Emporer's New Mind". As an introduction to some very interesting themes in maths and physics, its brilliant. The chapters on Turing machines, the Church-Turing thesis, and Cantor's hierarchy of infinities are especially superb, and constitute the best 'popular-level' introduction to these topics that I've encountered. His discussion of the Mandelbrot set while defending Platonism is also very interesting, and I think it constitutes a plausible defence of mathematical realism.

As a book about consciousness however, I wouldnt be so quick to recommend it. For a better attack on computationalism, I'd recommend anything by Hubert Dreyfus (particularly "What Computers Can't Do"), or (to a lesser extent) John Searle (eg "The Rediscovery of the Mind").

Edited by Hal
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