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August 2020: Other Books > Poll Ballot Tag - Other Minds - Peter Godfrey-Smith - 4 1/2 stars

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message 1: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jennywilliams88) | 707 comments Team: Jade Dragons
State and tag: Nature - Idaho
On page 2 of the tags

Blurb: A philosopher dons a wet suit and journeys into the depths of consciousness.

Peter Godfrey-Smith is a leading philosopher of science. He is also a scuba diver whose underwater videos of warring octopuses have attracted wide notice. In this book, he brings his parallel careers together to tell a bold new story of how nature became aware of itself.

Mammals and birds are widely seen as the smartest creatures on earth. But one other branch of the tree of life has also sprouted surprising intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus. New research shows that these marvellous creatures display remarkable gifts.

What does it mean that intelligence on Earth has evolved not once but twice? And that the mind of the octopus is nonetheless so different from our own? Combining science and philosophy with first-hand accounts of his cephalopod encounters, Godfrey-Smith shows how primitive organisms bobbing in the ocean began sending signals to each other and how these early forms of communication gave rise to the advanced nervous systems that permit cephalopods to change colours and human beings to speak.

By tracing the problem of consciousness back to its roots and comparing the human brain to its most alien and perhaps most remarkable animal relative, Godfrey-Smith’s Other Minds sheds new light on one of our most abiding mysteries.

Review: I never thought I'd be identifying with a cuttlefish!

"Once the decline starts, it occurs very quickly. Their health seems to drop off a cliff."

This is me when I get ill, except I bounce back rather than die!

The only reason this isn't 5 stars is that some of the science went over my head!


message 2: by Holly R W (last edited Sep 28, 2020 04:01AM) (new)

Holly R W | 1433 comments What a great review, Jenny! Some of the science in the book would be over my head too. I'm struck by how different types of animals and birds have been shown to have intelligence and awareness that we humans had not known they possess. It was only recently that I've learned that some birds can form bonds with people. How amazing!


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