Questions for GEB Unit V

Mårten Stenius URL:

Page and figure references are from the English Penguin Booksedition, unless otherwise noted.

Dialogue V: Little Harmonic Labyrinth

Why has Achilles' voice raised an octave (p. 111), when he is actually standing beside the Genies, just watching? He is on the same level as the first Genie, isn't he? Or did he somehow transfer himself to the level of the Meta-Genie when posing the question? In that case, why would he need to do that - the Genie didn't do it when posing his question.

What is the significance of Tortoise's comment from the "top level" being audible on the current level? Have we "raised an octave" and ended up in the same tonic key as the one we starded in?

A note on the Swedish translation: "En dödlig som träffas av deras tungor sitter med skägget i fig. 16." (p. 118 Swedish) - A joke which is intranslatable to English, and probably added by the translator! The original sentence is "A mere touch of their tongues, and any mortal turns to a pickle." (p. 108)

Chapter V: Recursive Structures and Processes

Most of the content of this chapter is rather well-known (to me) and straightforward. However, I came to think of a question which relates a bit to the chapter: Take a look at the programming language Scheme: First of all, it is highly adapted to making recursive functions, no question about that. But additionally, you may specify the whole language within itself, i e build a Scheme interpreter directly in Scheme, without any recompilation or in-between steps. That is, the language is contained in itself. How does this relate to the contents of this chapter, and the book?