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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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Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating, informative, and thought provoking.

An wonderful window into the lives of cephalopods, and a fascinating study of intelligence itself.

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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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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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  • Al
  • 27-03-2017

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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-03-2018

stunning look at the evolution of thinking...

loved every word of it. great subject lovingly narrated. For any one interested in thought, neuroscience and potentilly for bionics/robotics some great ideas to traverse andcombine. Why? all great structures and strategies are first invented in nature - if it's not broken..? So here is the fundemental patterning of thought through evolution. A demonstration of thought patterning in animals up to and including human minds. Interested to know where and who runs with these ideas and grows them forward in diffrent ways, especially in robotics...thanks to both Peters for bringing this to life

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-07-2018

Fascinating!

It doesn't matter if you're interested in octopuses, neuroscience, evolution, philosophy or all of these, this book is a beautiful and stimulating story about "the other minds" and about evolution of life, especially marine life. It WILL make you look differently on octopuses and cephalopods. They're not only surprisingly intelligent and friendly, we also have more in common than we usually think. Enjoy!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sadieparson
  • 18-07-2018

Enchantment

The anecdotes about the various cephalopods that the author encounters make the drier bits worth trudging through. You can tell I am no scientist but this book almost made me wish I had been. Are there likely to be studies of the larger, longer lived, deep cold water octopuses? These glorious short lived warm water species are so endearing but what about the older guys?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Russ
  • 04-07-2018

I could listen to this all day

Both the author and the narrator are on top form. There are a lot of ideas, information and concepts packed into the book in such an readable way. The narrator's delivery of the material just adss another layer of polish. Just want to go back and listen to the whole thing again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • lucy costelloe
  • 28-06-2018

Mind Opening....

I am delighted by the narration by Peter Noble and that was my primary reason for listening - to his voice. Then l was captivated by the unfolding story of the mind or rather the intelligence of Octapus and cuttlefish. I learnt such a lot. If you are interested in the amazingness of evolution then this is a compulsive listen. It is rather technical but in an easy to absorb flow.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • RabbitLemon
  • 09-06-2018

Excellent viewing point on life

Totally recommend for the subject and how it relates to us. And excellent reading voice

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • William D. Dunsmuir
  • 14-05-2018

Mind blowing and very very enjoyable

Great account of evolution, consciousness and aging Great account of evolution, consciousness and agony Great account of evolution, consciousness and aging

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ms
  • 12-03-2018

Fascinating insights

It's given me a new fascination with the minds of other species & a desire to scuba dive. Also raised my awareness of how we need to take better care of our planet.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Martin B
  • 03-01-2018

A gr8 listen!

Really interesting book, not only on cephlopods but on the evolution of intelligence and sentience in general which I find facinating. Well worth a listen.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 12-11-2017

great stuff

My affinity with these creatures is enhanced. I will never eat one again!
well written, well read, and I know more now than I did before.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful