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strange loop

from Wikipedia’s entry on strange loop:

In I Am a Strange Loop, Hofstadter defines strange loops as follows:
And yet when I say “strange loop”, I have something else in mind – a less concrete, more elusive notion. What I mean by “strange loop” is – here goes a first stab, anyway – not a physical circuit but an abstract loop in which, in the series of stages that constitute the cycling-around, there is a shift from one level of abstraction (or structure) to another, which feels like an upwards movement in a hierarchy, and yet somehow the successive “upward” shifts turn out to give rise to a closed cycle. That is, despite one’s sense of departing ever further from one’s origin, one winds up, to one’s shock, exactly where one had started out. In short, a strange loop is a paradoxical level-crossing feedback loop. (pp. 101-102)

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