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Metazoa: Animal Life and the Birth of the Mind by [Peter Godfrey-Smith]

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Metazoa: Animal Life and the Birth of the Mind Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 321 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"What makes [Metazoa] shimmer and shine is Godfrey-Smith’s exploration of marine life (drawing on his vast and extensive diving knowledge and field experience) to illuminate the ways in which the animal mind works . . . He does this in vivid and scenic prose . . . Filled with riveting anecdotes and research, interspersed with charming and informative illustrations of various time periods such as the Ordovician." Aimee Nezhukumatathil, The New York Times Book Review

"Never have I encountered anything like
Metazoa. In it, Peter Godfrey-Smith . . . focuses on the evolutionary developments that shaped our brains, and no matter how much you think you know about these developments, his book will deepen your understanding . . . [Godfrey-Smith] favors clarity, presenting our world to scientists and nonscientists alike, salting his book with firsthand observations and experiences." ―Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, The American Scholar

"Marvelous . . . Godfrey-Smith’s book has a fascinating discussion of how it must feel to have [a] sort of split [Octopus] consciousness, nine selves all inhabiting the same body."
―Alison Gopnik, The Wall Street Journal

"Philosophers have long debated the nature of consciousness. This probing study takes an evolutionary approach, examining “experience in general” not only in humans but in much of the animal kingdom . . . The author is crisp on a subject notorious for abstraction, dissecting fuzzy philosophical metaphors and weaving in lively descriptions of the octopuses, whale sharks, and banded shrimp he observes on scuba dives off the coasts of Australia."
The New Yorker

"For Peter Godfrey-Smith the spectacle [of sea life] is a curtain-raiser to a profound scientific drama, in which the lives of quite un-human creatures illuminate deep mysteries about the nature of sentience, and what it means to possess a mind . . . In
Metazoa, the scuba-diving historian and philosopher of science tackles these questions with eloquent boldness, reminding us that 'life and mind began in water' . . . Electric." ―Barbara Kiser, The Wall Street Journal

"[Peter Godfrey-Smith's] is a special and rare kind of attention: informed by scientific research, yet sensitive to what he is seeing, the particularity of the creature in front of him, and what it might imply, always to the fore . . . Absorbing . . . A delight to read."
―Nigel Warburton, Standpoint

"Combining science, philosophy, and his own 'watery hours' spent scuba diving, Godfrey-Smith examines the origins of animal consciousness . . . This is no dry academic treatise . . . [
Metazoa] is enlivened by the wit and affection with which the author often regards his subjects of study." Library Journal (starred review)

"Godfrey-Smith . . . delivers a rich look at the existence of consciousness in the animal kingdom . . . His evolutionary approach is rich in biological detail, such as when he compares human brains with octopuses’ distributed neural network in their brain and arms, and nicely complemented by vivid details of the animals he encounters while scuba diving . . . [His] passion both for the philosophical subject he tackles and the organisms he visits and discusses comes through clearly in his fascinating work."
Publishers Weekly

"Peter Godfrey-Smith writes and thinks like no one else that I know of. He’s well immersed in the science of life, a deep-diver into the philosophical implications of the factual world―
and a writer so skillful he can give a reader chills. Metazoa is his deepest dive to date on what life is, what life means; how we understand what we understand; and how we might continue peeling and peering into the many layers of remaining mystery, to further appreciate the astonishments of existence." ―Carl Safina, author of Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace

--This text refers to the hardcover edition.

About the Author

Peter Godfrey-Smith is a professor in the School of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney. He is the author of the bestselling Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, which has been published in more than twenty languages. His other books include Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science and Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection, which won the 2010 Lakatos Award. --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B084M1MGGM
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Farrar, Straus and Giroux (November 10, 2020)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ November 10, 2020
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 25488 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 353 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 321 ratings

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PETER GODFREY-SMITH is a professor in the School of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney. He is the author of Metazoa and the bestselling Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life, which was shortlisted for the 2017 Royal Society Science Book Prize and has since been published in more than twenty languages. He is also the author of four other books, including Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science and Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection, which won the 2010 Lakatos Award for an outstanding work on the philosophy of science.

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
321 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on November 13, 2020
51 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on November 15, 2020
41 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Evolution: A Path to Understanding Concsiousness
Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2020
In my waking hours, I know for certain that I am conscious and I am poignantly aware of the sights, sounds, and other external events that fill my awareness in a way that is completely determinate yet ineffable and incapable of being shared with others. This experience is not explained in the least by standard physics, chemistry, and biology.
I understand the purpose of pain in promoting behavioral changes in the organism, but why do we feel pain? Why is it not simply aversive, as it might be for a robot, a being I create in my computer, or in an organism without a brain?
Why do I believe others are conscious, experiencing ineffable things probably in much the same as myself? I do not know why, but it appears to be true. To not believe this is to be insane. But only because we are not zombies. A zombie could believe there is no subjectivity without compromising its behavior in the least.
Peter Godfrey-Smith (GS) suggest that if we believe other humans are conscious, then there is good grounds for believing that other living creatures are as well. This is because the belief in the consciousness of others is based on our accepting the other have much the same biology as ourselves, and hence probably have the same feelings as ourselves, and also we see others behaving as though they are experiencing their environment much as we experience ours.
But if we share aspects of consciousness with other creatures, and if Darwinian evolution is accurate (it is), then consciousness has an evolutionary dynamic and it must be fitness enhancing.
But how?
This is the theme GS explores in this wide-ranging review the flora and fauna of our planet. He comes to no specific conclusions, but he wisely explores an number of fruitful directions. So read it and rejoice.
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9 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 25, 2020
One person found this helpful
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John R. Dale
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly thoughtful
Reviewed in Canada on April 9, 2021
JoGoCo
5.0 out of 5 stars Expanded view od consciousness
Reviewed in Canada on January 1, 2021
Victor Machado Barcellos
5.0 out of 5 stars Filosofia feita com qualidade e empiricamente fundamentada
Reviewed in Brazil on November 25, 2020
2 people found this helpful
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HeKo
4.0 out of 5 stars Goed overzicht over (mogelijke) evolutie van de Geest
Reviewed in the Netherlands on March 24, 2021
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