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Other minds: the octopus, the sea, and the deep origins of consciousness

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Philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith dons a wet suit and journeys into the depths of consciousness in Other Minds
Although mammals and birds are widely regarded as the smartest creatures on earth, it has lately become clear that a very distant branch of the tree of life has also sprouted higher intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus. In captivity, octopuses have been known to identify individual human keepers, raid neighboring tanks for food, turn off lightbulbs by spouting jets of water, plug drains, and make daring escapes. How is it that a creature with such gifts evolved through an evolutionary lineage so radically distant from our own? What does it mean that evolution built minds not once but at least twice? The octopus is the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien. What can we learn from the encounter?
In Other Minds, Peter Godfrey-Smith, a distinguished philosopher of science and a skilled scuba diver, tells a bold new story of how subjective experience crept into being—how nature became aware of itself. As Godfrey-Smith stresses, it is a story that largely occurs in the ocean, where animals first appeared. Tracking the mind's fitful development, Godfrey-Smith shows how unruly clumps of seaborne cells began living together and became capable of sensing, acting, and signaling. As these primitive organisms became more entangled with others, they grew more complicated. The first nervous systems evolved, probably in ancient relatives of jellyfish; later on, the cephalopods, which began as inconspicuous mollusks, abandoned their shells and rose above the ocean floor, searching for prey and acquiring the greater intelligence needed to do so. Taking an independent route, mammals and birds later began their own evolutionary journeys.
But what kind of intelligence do cephalopods possess? Drawing on the latest scientific research and his own scuba-diving adventures, Godfrey-Smith probes the many mysteries that surround the lineage. How did the octopus, a solitary creature with little social life, become so smart? What is it like to have eight tentacles that are so packed with neurons that they virtually "think for themselves"? What happens when some octopuses abandon their hermit-like ways and congregate, as they do in a unique location off the coast of Australia?
By tracing the question of inner life back to its roots and comparing human beings with our most remarkable animal relatives, Godfrey-Smith casts crucial new light on the octopus mind—and on our own.

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ISBN:
9780374712808
9780374227760
9780374537197
9781427291950
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Grouped Work IDba9d3662-b79e-3c3a-629a-4a2f2ec46e7d
Grouping Titleother minds the octopus the sea and the deep origins of consciousness
Grouping Authorpeter godfrey smith
Grouping Categorybook
Grouping LanguageEnglish (eng)
Last Grouping Update2024-04-22 02:10:18AM
Last Indexed2024-04-22 02:26:24AM

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display_description

Philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith dons a wet suit and journeys into the depths of consciousness in Other Minds
Although mammals and birds are widely regarded as the smartest creatures on earth, it has lately become clear that a very distant branch of the tree of life has also sprouted higher intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus. In captivity, octopuses have been known to identify individual human keepers, raid neighboring tanks for food, turn off lightbulbs by spouting jets of water, plug drains, and make daring escapes. How is it that a creature with such gifts evolved through an evolutionary lineage so radically distant from our own? What does it mean that evolution built minds not once but at least twice? The octopus is the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien. What can we learn from the encounter?
In Other Minds, Peter Godfrey-Smith, a distinguished philosopher of science and a skilled scuba diver, tells a bold new story of how subjective experience crept into being—how nature became aware of itself. As Godfrey-Smith stresses, it is a story that largely occurs in the ocean, where animals first appeared. Tracking the mind's fitful development, Godfrey-Smith shows how unruly clumps of seaborne cells began living together and became capable of sensing, acting, and signaling. As these primitive organisms became more entangled with others, they grew more complicated. The first nervous systems evolved, probably in ancient relatives of jellyfish; later on, the cephalopods, which began as inconspicuous mollusks, abandoned their shells and rose above the ocean floor, searching for prey and acquiring the greater intelligence needed to do so. Taking an independent route, mammals and birds later began their own evolutionary journeys.
But what kind of intelligence do cephalopods possess? Drawing on the latest scientific research and his own scuba-diving adventures, Godfrey-Smith probes the many mysteries that surround the lineage. How did the octopus, a solitary creature with little social life, become so smart? What is it like to have eight tentacles that are so packed with neurons that they virtually "think for themselves"? What happens when some octopuses abandon their hermit-like ways and congregate, as they do in a unique location off the coast of Australia?
By tracing the question of inner life back to its roots and comparing human beings with our most remarkable animal relatives, Godfrey-Smith casts crucial new light on the octopus mind—and on our own.

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Book
eAudiobook
eBook
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Audio Books
Books
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ba9d3662-b79e-3c3a-629a-4a2f2ec46e7d
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itype_catalog
Adult Book Non-Fiction
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Carmichael
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Fair Oaks
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Sylvan Oaks
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9780374712808
publishDate
2016
2017
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Macmillan Audio
recordtype
grouped_work
subject_facet
Cephalopoda -- Behavior
Cephalopoda -- Psychology
Consciousness
Nervous system -- Evolution
title_display
Other minds : the octopus, the sea, and the deep origins of consciousness
title_full
Other Minds The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness
Other minds : the octopus, the sea, and the deep origins of consciousness / Peter Godfrey-Smith
title_short
Other minds
title_sub
the octopus, the sea, and the deep origins of consciousness
topic_facet
Behavior
Cephalopoda
Consciousness
Evolution
Nature
Nervous system
Nonfiction
Psychology
Science

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