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Publisher's Summary

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 audiobook 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 firsthand 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.

©2017 Peter Godfrey-Smith (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Al
  • 03-27-17

A Cephalopod Love Story

Some quite interesting info in parts of the text. Generally too speculative and wishy washy to receive a higher score. A philosopher's work of science rather than a scientist's work of science. Comes across as someone playing at being Edward O. Wilson out of an emphatuation with octopi but lacking the expertise to pull it off.

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  • ben
  • 04-13-17

Fascinating

Utterly fascinating and very accessible. The closest you can get to understanding an alien intelligence.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon
  • 07-12-17

outstanding

A really great recording of a fascinating book. I learned so much and have a new appreciation for all things cephalopod.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-29-17

Accessible and fairly profound. Octupulent!

Will make me look at calamari very differently. Facts and analysis of what might seem a marginal or obscure topic leading to some fairly deep thoughts about life and existence.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Santiago
  • 10-01-17

Very interesting and unique, biology + philosophy

Well researched and well argued, covering a lot of science, and well put together arguments, from someone with first hand experience with these animals.

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  • J. Drew
  • 09-15-17

Other minds

This is a quite short book which looks at what we can learn about our minds by looking in at the closest we have to a mind in an alien body, that of the mind of an octopus. The book starts brilliantly with a fantastic, clear introduction to evolution and how animals and our brains developed. I really loved the first two chapters. I also found other parts interesting including discovering the short life of an octopus only been 2 years (quite sad and poignant) and explanations of why that might be. But too much of this book seemed speculation and some parts were less satisfying. However, I did enjoy this book.

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  • Ocean
  • 09-10-17

Fascinating topic

Peter's study is full of insightful observations on cephalopod behaviour and intriguing speculation on the evolution of consciousness. Nicely narrated as well.

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  • Celia
  • 08-13-17

Fascinating mix of science and philosophy

This book was a fascinating mix of science, philosophy and anecdotes. Although it tackled some challenging concepts, it was not dry or boring, and the discussion evolved at a layman's pace. The author's stories of his own experiences with octopuses and cuttlefish, as well as his discussion of other people's research stories, was interspersed between the discussion of evolution of a neural system, and philosophy of "what is a mind". Interesting concepts well narrated.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-17-17

Literary science at its pinnacle

Fantastic performance reading a stunning book.
Godfrey-Smith shows his passion for the philosophy, psychology, and biology of the Cephalopods whilst communicating cutting edge science.

It is great to see communication of this content done in such an academic, yet accessible way. Very enjoyable.

Highly recommended

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  • Libby Lin
  • 06-05-17

Light and Entrancing

Who knew that do much was happening in the mind of a cuttlefish or octopus? Fascinating from beginning to end. Books don't often change my perspective of the world in a tangible way - this is a rare exception. Other Minds is a loving fusion of evolution, biology and philosophy. I found Godfrey-Smith's story telling so compelling that I probably won't eat octopus again. If ever you wonder why the ocean is deserving of our moral consideration, read this book.

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