Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness

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Although mammals and birds are widely regarded as the smartest creatures on earth, it has lately become clear that a very distant branch of the tree of life has also sprouted higher intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus. In captivity, octopuses have been known to identify individual human keepers, raid neighboring tanks for food, turn off lightbulbs by spouting jets of water, plug drains, and make daring escapes. How is it that a creature with such gifts evolved through an evolutionary lineage so radically distant from our own? What does it mean that evolution built minds not once but at least twice? The octopus is the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien. What can we learn from the encounter?

In Other Minds, Peter Godfrey-Smith, a distinguished philosopher of science and a skilled scuba diver, tells a bold new story of how subjective experience crept into being—how nature became aware of itself. As Godfrey-Smith stresses, it is a story that largely occurs in the ocean, where animals first appeared. Tracking the mind’s fitful development, Godfrey-Smith shows how unruly clumps of seaborne cells began living together and became capable of sensing, acting, and signaling. As these primitive organisms became more entangled with others, they grew more complicated. The first nervous systems evolved, probably in ancient relatives of jellyfish; later on, the cephalopods, which began as inconspicuous mollusks, abandoned their shells and rose above the ocean floor, searching for prey and acquiring the greater intelligence needed to do so. Taking an independent route, mammals and birds later began their own evolutionary journeys.

But what kind of intelligence do cephalopods possess? Drawing on the latest scientific research and his own scuba-diving adventures, Godfrey-Smith probes the many mysteries that surround the lineage. How did the octopus, a solitary creature with little social life, become so smart? What is it like to have eight tentacles that are so packed with neurons that they virtually “think for themselves”? What happens when some octopuses abandon their hermit-like ways and congregate, as they do in a unique location off the coast of Australia?

By tracing the question of inner life back to its roots and comparing human beings with our most remarkable animal relatives, Godfrey-Smith casts crucial new light on the octopus mind—and on our own.

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About the author

Peter Godfrey-Smith is a distinguished professor of philosophy at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and a professor of the history and philosophy of science at the University of Sydney. He is the author of several books, including Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science and Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection, which won the 2010 Lakatos Award. His underwater videos of octopuses have been featured in National Geographic and New Scientist, and he has discussed them on National Public Radio and many cable TV channels.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Published on
Dec 6, 2016
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9780374712808
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Animals / Marine Life
Psychology / Animal & Comparative Psychology
Science / Life Sciences / Evolution
Science / Life Sciences / Zoology / Ethology (Animal Behavior)
Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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How does science work? Does it tell us what the world is "really" like? What makes it different from other ways of understanding the universe? In Theory and Reality, Peter Godfrey-Smith addresses these questions by taking the reader on a grand tour of one hundred years of debate about science. The result is a completely accessible introduction to the main themes of the philosophy of science.

Intended for undergraduates and general readers with no prior background in philosophy, Theory and Reality covers logical positivism; the problems of induction and confirmation; Karl Popper's theory of science; Thomas Kuhn and "scientific revolutions"; the views of Imre Lakatos, Larry Laudan, and Paul Feyerabend; and challenges to the field from sociology of science, feminism, and science studies. The book then looks in more detail at some specific problems and theories, including scientific realism, the theory-ladeness of observation, scientific explanation, and Bayesianism. Finally, Godfrey-Smith defends a form of philosophical naturalism as the best way to solve the main problems in the field.

Throughout the text he points out connections between philosophical debates and wider discussions about science in recent decades, such as the infamous "science wars." Examples and asides engage the beginning student; a glossary of terms explains key concepts; and suggestions for further reading are included at the end of each chapter. However, this is a textbook that doesn't feel like a textbook because it captures the historical drama of changes in how science has been conceived over the last one hundred years.

Like no other text in this field, Theory and Reality combines a survey of recent history of the philosophy of science with current key debates in language that any beginning scholar or critical reader can follow.
Finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction

New York Times Bestseller

“Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus does for the creature what Helen Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk did for raptors.” —New Statesman, UK

Starred Booklist and Library Journal Editors’ Spring Pick

“One of the best science books of the year” —Science Friday, NPR

A Huffington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of the Year

One of the Best Books of the Month on Goodreads

Library Journal Best Sci-Tech Book of 2015

An American Library Association Notable Book of the Year

Another New York Times bestseller from the author of The Good Good Pig, this “fascinating…touching…informative…entertaining” (Daily Beast) book explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus—a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature—and the remarkable connections it makes with humans.

In pursuit of the wild, solitary, predatory octopus, popular naturalist Sy Montgomery has practiced true immersion journalism. From New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, she has befriended octopuses with strikingly different personalities—gentle Athena, assertive Octavia, curious Kali, and joyful Karma. Each creature shows her cleverness in myriad ways: escaping enclosures like an orangutan; jetting water to bounce balls; and endlessly tricking companions with multiple “sleights of hand” to get food.

Scientists have only recently accepted the intelligence of dogs, birds, and chimpanzees but now are watching octopuses solve problems and are trying to decipher the meaning of the animal’s color-changing techniques. With her “joyful passion for these intelligent and fascinating creatures” (Library Journal Editors’ Spring Pick), Montgomery chronicles the growing appreciation of this mollusk as she tells a unique love story. By turns funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, The Soul of an Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about the meeting of two very different minds.
How does science work? Does it tell us what the world is "really" like? What makes it different from other ways of understanding the universe? In Theory and Reality, Peter Godfrey-Smith addresses these questions by taking the reader on a grand tour of one hundred years of debate about science. The result is a completely accessible introduction to the main themes of the philosophy of science.

Intended for undergraduates and general readers with no prior background in philosophy, Theory and Reality covers logical positivism; the problems of induction and confirmation; Karl Popper's theory of science; Thomas Kuhn and "scientific revolutions"; the views of Imre Lakatos, Larry Laudan, and Paul Feyerabend; and challenges to the field from sociology of science, feminism, and science studies. The book then looks in more detail at some specific problems and theories, including scientific realism, the theory-ladeness of observation, scientific explanation, and Bayesianism. Finally, Godfrey-Smith defends a form of philosophical naturalism as the best way to solve the main problems in the field.

Throughout the text he points out connections between philosophical debates and wider discussions about science in recent decades, such as the infamous "science wars." Examples and asides engage the beginning student; a glossary of terms explains key concepts; and suggestions for further reading are included at the end of each chapter. However, this is a textbook that doesn't feel like a textbook because it captures the historical drama of changes in how science has been conceived over the last one hundred years.

Like no other text in this field, Theory and Reality combines a survey of recent history of the philosophy of science with current key debates in language that any beginning scholar or critical reader can follow.
★美國Amazon 4.4星好評推薦!

★《紐約時報書評》、《洛杉磯時報》、《衛報》、《經濟學人》、《科學》雜誌(Scientific)、《今日心理學》雜誌(Psychology Today)、《書單》雜誌(Booklist)、《出版人週刊》(Publishers Weekly)佳評如潮!


頭足類和我們分處生命樹上遙遠的兩端,藉由牠們迥異於人類的演化故事,探索數億年來心智演變的奧祕。


「人類何以有主觀經驗?」

「章魚擁有高智能?」


最原始的生命,是以單細胞的形式,存在於海洋。單細胞生物獨自度過了一段非常漫長的時間,才因為基因突變,無法正常分裂成各奔東西的細胞,或其他未知原因,而有了多細胞生物相伴。這些彼此黏在一起的細胞,組合出各式各樣的生命形態,包括植物、動物,以及真菌。其中有些更離開海洋,上到了陸地。這些生命若要生存,功能各異的細胞便得依靠神經系統彼此協調,以應付外在環境變化,發展出所謂的智能。


在這個過程中,可能是在六億年前,人類和頭足類分家了。在頭足類那一端,牠們放棄了外殼,擁有無拘無束的行動力。漸漸地,牠們演化出適應這種生活型態的各項本領,包括傑出的變色能力、擁有「感覺」的腕足,甚至是做出各式各樣調皮搗蛋行為的「高智商」,奇怪的是,牠們多數似乎異常短命?


一般認為除了人類以外,地球上擁有較高智能的是哺乳動物和鳥類。但我們越來越清楚知道,人類在生命樹上遙遠分枝的親戚——頭足類,也展現出驚人的心智能力。當我們在探討心智的奧祕時,或許應該納入其他動物也具有意識的事實,特別是頭足類。


身為科學家、哲學家與潛水員的作者,爬梳大量海洋科學、動物行為學、心理學、人腦科學以及哲學等等研究,藉由討論頭足類的心智演化,帶領讀者以更廣闊的角度探索「意識如何躍入生命」。


【導讀】(依姓名筆劃排列)


洪裕宏 陽明大學心智哲學研究所教授、東吳大學兼任客座教授

焦傳金 清華大學系統神經科學研究所所長 


【名家推薦】(依姓名筆劃排列)


王榮麟 台灣大學哲學系副教授

邵廣昭 台灣海洋大學講座教授

陳思廷 清華大學哲學研究所所長

陳瑞麟 中正大學哲學系系主任

黃文山 國立自然科學博物館生物學組主任


「這是一本像詩般的書,當你讀完全書時,會覺得自己的生命往前推四十億年,到最遠古的生命,最原始的感覺,同時你的生命往四面八方拓展,從細菌到節肢動物到章魚,都環繞著你的生命,和你共譜生命演化的大樂章。」

——陽明大學心智哲學研究所教授、東吳大學兼任客座教授 洪裕宏


「任何人若是有機會在潛水時看到章魚或烏賊,一定會對牠們不斷變換的體色嘖嘖稱奇,即便沒有機會遇到本尊,光是在電視或網路上觀看影片,也一定會對牠們的偽裝絕技佩服不已。本書作者彼得.戈弗雷史密斯就是在潛水近身觀察章魚與烏賊的行為時,得到許多靈感與啟發,並以哲學的角度思考這些行為對動物心智演化起源的意義。

因此,無論你是海洋生物學家,或只是對動物行為有興趣,甚至僅僅是對『動物有多聰明?』或『動物有沒有意識?』這類問題感到好奇的人,這本書都能提供許多線索讓你思考,可能因此對動物的心智能力大吃一驚。」

——清華大學系統神經科學研究所所長 焦傳金


【國際讚譽】


「我愛這本書!這本書傑出地結合自然史、哲學和令人驚奇的事情,讓我們以超乎尋常的方式『潛水』,不僅深入海底探討章魚神祕的高智商,也探討智力的本質以及其幾億年來的演變脈絡。這個故事令人著迷。彼得.戈弗雷史密斯用優雅的文字讓故事活影活現,每頁都可以感受到他對章魚強烈且仁慈的愛。任何對章魚以及對心智演化有興趣的人,必讀本書。」

——《鳥的天賦》作者珍妮佛.艾克曼


「生命最大的謎底之一是,為什麼特定動物具有意識,又如何具有意識。彼得.戈弗雷史密斯以章魚為出發點,非常謹慎地運用第一手知識以及自身的敏感性,探討非人的意識。」

——《黑猩猩政治學》、《猿形畢露》作者法蘭斯.德瓦爾


「它巧妙地融合哲學以及生物演化學……彼得.戈弗雷史密斯結合自己哲學和科學的脈絡、豐富又引人入勝的趣事,以及他在潛水時拍下的驚人照片。他所呈現的頭足類,彷彿是我們概念裡的某種外星人,值得我們好好了解。讀起來非常享受,知識性十足!」

——《出版人週刊》(Publishers Weekly) 



出版社 紅樹林 (城邦)

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