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Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the…
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Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness (Original 2016; 2017. Auflage)

von Peter Godfrey-Smith (Autor)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
1,2394512,173 (3.75)37
"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 marvelous 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 colors 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." -- Goodreads.com summary.… (mehr)
Mitglied:SusanPerkins
Titel:Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness
Autoren:Peter Godfrey-Smith (Autor)
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2017), Edition: Reprint, 272 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
Bewertung:
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Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness von Peter Godfrey-Smith (2016)

Kürzlich hinzugefügt vonxlthlx, et.carole, ennuiprayer, jtmcla, JaqJaq, magonistarevolt
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Melde dich bei LibraryThing an um herauszufinden, ob du dieses Buch mögen würdest.

And this is the problem I face with reviews: the constant return to the question of what the value of a book review is, what an evaluation of some amorphous potential experience could be to a stranger, to a friend, to a former fellow student. On a utilitarian basis, biographical information at the beginning of a review is extremely useful: this is who I am, this is what my background is, and as a result, this is what I think of this book.
So: I have not had formal science education past high school, instead studying English and writing. I’ve read a few pop culture books on animal behavior and cognition over the past few years. This was my favorite of those that I’ve read recently. Godfrey-Smith is unafraid to provide context, to reveal his own bias, to examine ideas linearly, one at a time, to examine the possibilities of where ideas come from and how theories on cognition have been supported and denied. His wandering observational path reminds me of how he describes the movement of the octopuses themselves, allowing the arms a little cognitive independence, not needing a linear path across the ocean floor, looping back to the den of the central questions in the book. It’s good nonfiction in a way that satisfies the sensibilities for traditional nonfiction that I developed from taking classes on it in college: the book has a narrative flow which reveals and follows the author’s thoughts as an organizing principle, it has many lush scenes and anecdotes, and the author clearly describes experiments, theories, and advanced technical details in a way accessible to the layman.
The top goodreads review for this book disagrees, and is written in a way that explains why: the reviewer was a biology major, so the science sections seem too basic to her, and the sections that tie this information together with reflection and philosophy seem tangential and unrelated. The reviewer does not understand basic prose that examines personal relation to information in a way that does not immediately agree or disagree with it. And maybe there’s validity to this argument; if you are looking for an analysis specifically of the mentality of the octopus, you will read this book and be disappointed. Another reviewer felt deceived by the fact that the author was a philosopher rather than a biologist, despite the clear announcement of this in the first phrase of the author’s biography on the back of the book, and the premise of authorship which seems obvious to me but clearly isn’t: the only thing you can assume about the author of a book, no matter the topic, is that they have written the book.
But I’ve had this disappointment myself, this feeling of betrayal by an author, and specifically when reading another octopus book: [b:The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness|22609485|The Soul of an Octopus A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness|Sy Montgomery|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1425611143l/22609485._SY75_.jpg|42099445], by Sy Montgomery. Montgomery is primarily a writer, and as a result the book contains a huge amount of their personal feelings on octopuses, to the exclusion of more rumination and exploration of octopuses themselves and what they experience. Other Minds was particularly satisfying to me because it inverted this ratio of information about octopuses to author’s thought. And for a scientist, I suppose, or a former biology student, I can see how this ratio was still not large enough; it is true that the book explored possibilities and connections to a wide variety of other animals, experiments, and theories rather than being restricted to only octopus-related peer-reviewed experiments.
So reviews, like any kind of cultural reaction, are precisely as interesting as they are useless. While I might disagree with another reviewer viscerally (and more strongly the more pile-ons the comment section collects) I can in fact take several valuable things from this contrast: I can get another perspective on the book, seeing potential weaknesses that I missed because of my pleasant impression, while at the same time understanding that this person and I have different taste in books, and take their further recommendations with that in mind. Ugh. Like the rest of life, disappointing when viewed maturely, all the satisfaction of a good yelling match about this book removed. In my opinion, the best octopus book I’ve read. ( )
  et.carole | Jan 21, 2022 |
Libro que he tenido que adelantar muchas paginas por lo exhaustivo y reiterativo a veces. Las partes sobre los octópodos y especialmente los pulpos es interesante aunque tampoco aporta muchísimos datos. Me quedo con la información básica sobre ellos. ( )
  danielkeyes | Jan 8, 2022 |
Amazing ( )
  dualmon | Nov 17, 2021 |
Peter Godfrey-Smith lives an extraordinary life. Despite my fear of scuba diving (maybe I will conquer that fear one day) I found myself entertained by the observations he had while watching Octopuses go about their business. There were a few notable things that I highlighted while reading this book. I'll share a few, as I don't want to spoil it for you. (Though there is debate in my mind on whether a non-fiction book could be spoiled, at least to the same extent as a fiction book.)

"Cephalopods are an island of mental complexity in the sea of invertebrate animals. Because our most recent common ancestor was so simple and lies so far back, cephalopods are an independent experiment in the evolution of large brains and complex behavior. If we can make contact with cephalopods as sentient beings, it is not because of a shared history, not because of kinship, but because evolution built minds twice over. This is probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien." (p.9)

I think that this paragraph sums up what most of the book is about. Godfrey-Smith goes through studies, mentions what occurs and then ties it back to his preferred discipline, philosophy. The idea is perplexing, consciousness has been at the forefront of philosophical debate for awhile, it also plays a role in socio-political issues that have huge ramifications for women's rights, like whether a fetus A.) Conscious and B.) Does it Matter? In the same line of thought, I think that extending consciousness (albeit a less developed one, at least from our current understanding) to other animals would change a lot of things about how we go about the world, One might want to reconsider whether or not they should be vegan for example, if we are to believe certain animals have consciousness comparable to ours.

Conclusion

As for the downsides of this book, there aren't many. In my experience, there were certain parts of the book that were boring, but not so boring as to quit reading it. Other than that, there isn't much structure to the book itself. It reads more like the musings of an academic scuba diver (which is pretty much what it is.) ( )
  thedatamale | Nov 12, 2021 |
This had some interesting ideas although I felt that it could've done with being edited down quite substantially - I would've preferred something a lot punchier and struggled to maintain my interest through some sections. But clearly it worked for many other readers here, so maybe it's just that I lack their appetite for detail. My other main reservation is that when describing his encounters with the octopus, I felt that the author frequently anthropomorphised it - projecting human consciousness onto it when there did not appear to be much evidence to support his interpretation of what was going on in the octopus' mind. ( )
  Paul_Samael | Jan 23, 2021 |
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Peter Godfrey-SmithHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Höfer, DirkÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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The demand for continuity has, over large tracts of science, proved itself to possess true prophetic power. We ought therefore ourselves sincerely to try every possible mode of conceiving the dawn of consciousness so that it may not appear equivalent to the irruption into the universe of a new nature, nonexistent until then.
—William James, The Principles of Psychology, 1890
The drama of creation, according to the Hawaiian account, is divided into a series of stages … At first the lowly zoophytes and corals come into being, and these are followed by worms and shellfish, each type being declared to conquer and destroy its predecessor, a struggle for existence in which the strongest survive. Parallel with this evolution of animal forms, plant life
begins on land and in the sea—at first with the algae, followed by seaweeds and rushes. As type follows type, the accumulating slime of their decay raises the land above the waters, in which, as spectator of all, swims the octopus, the lone survivor from an earlier world.
—Roland Dixon, Oceanic Mythology, 1916
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For all those who work to protect the oceans
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On a spring morning in 2009, Matthew Lawrence dropped the anchor of his small boat at a random spot in the middle of a blue ocean bay on the east coast of Australia, and jumped over the side. He swam down on scuba to where the anchor lay, picked it up, and waited. The breeze on the surface nudged the boat, which started to drift, and Matt, holding the anchor, followed.
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"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 marvelous 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 colors 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." -- Goodreads.com summary.

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