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Other Minds

The Octopus and The Evolution of Intelligent Life
Narrated by: Peter Noble
Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (66 ratings)

Non-member price: $13.26

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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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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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  • Chris C
  • 24-10-2018

amazing world of the octopus

You wouldn't think we'd have that much in common with something that lives in the ocean but the reality is we absolutely do.

This is beautifully written and read, it's compelling and curious with a wonderful.

You can learn a lot about humanity and evolution from this book and I recommend it.

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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

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-12-2018

A great read with a wide variety of thoughts.

Loaded with factual detail and historical references but also added occasional narratives on real life encounters and experiences. Challenging and thought provoking. So good I would read it again one day!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Hendy
  • 18-12-2018

The extraordinary octopus

A profoundly fascinating and thought provoking study of this group of animals, based on close personal observation in the oceans and scientific understanding. It provides lessons that apply to the future of he human race and all species.



4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • K-Diddy
  • 06-12-2018

A cephalopod love story

It's clear that Peter Godfrey-Smith holds a special place in his heart for these unusual and enigmatic creatures.

The book discusses the science of intelligence through our relationship to cephalopods. It's interesting, enlightening and often challenges our preconceptions.

I cant speak for the writer's scientific rigour; he definitely allows himself to personify these animals to a certain extent... that being said, these colourful desriptions are always backed up with an academic discussion.

All in all I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in natural science.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-12-2018

Fascinating insight into the wonders of evolution

A complex but highly engaging read, it was an easy listen which has taught me much.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Yanklank
  • 07-10-2018

Amazing

Well researched and perfectly presented. A fascinating combination of evolutionary biology (not my interest at all but the author managed to make it very interesting) and philosophy of mind and their intersection occurring in the sea and ourselves. With crazy anecdotes and stories it makes for a terrific listen/read

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Stanley Hopea
  • 01-09-2018

Other-mind-blowing

Excellent & well-flowing history of intelligence in the ocean. I had no idea octopuses and their cephalopod cousins had such depth. Highly recommended. 🐙

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • ls822
  • 27-08-2018

extraordinary & relatable creatures

"Octopuses are not monogamous, have sporadic sex lives and do not appear to be particularly social." That description had me hooked and it just went uphill from there rly.

The narration is great, the writing is accessible, stylish and funny and the subject fascinating. One of my new fav audiobooks.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Lulubeth
  • 24-08-2018

Sentience and wonder

This is a wonderful book about the often underestimated genius of the seas that is the octopus. Complex, beautiful, private and highly intelligent creatures with boneless bodies which move more gracefully through the sea than any other marine creature, the octopus is here celebrated as the marvel it truly is in aesthetic as well as scientific terms. An absolute joy to read. The kind of book that should make a difference to this creature's survival and, with luck, an end to their being hunted for food.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Otis Manousakos
  • 17-08-2018

It will make you a better reader and thinker

Aside from providing further illumination on the subject on consciousness and the evolutionary foundations that all life shares, this wonderful book, with the excellent narration provided by Peter Noble, will make you a better reader in the future, more broad and incisive thinker, and most of all, appreciative of the branches of evolution that selected us to have the ability to reflect on what links us all to one-another. The reading is pitch perfect in tone, pauses and pacing. Peter Godfrey-Smith's erudition, clarity and story-telling gifts found a perfect auditory distribution vehicle through Peter Noble....Jesus, they have me sounding like them now:) In all sincerity, treat your mind and 'that thing' in your mind that wants to 'know more'. It is rare when knowledge is communicated as experientially as it does intellectually. Thank you to Godfrey-Smith and Noble for seven hours that will provide me with a life's worth of investigation and reflection. I hope these two work together more often.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful