Author: Peter Godfrey-Smith
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review By: Shana
This is an absorbing book exploring cephalopod intelligence and what it might tell us about evolution of the mind and consciousness. This is especially interesting since humans most often look to our close cousins, the primates, when trying to puzzle out cognitive development and what mental traits are unique to humans. By looking to a branch of evolution so disparate from our own the reader is forced to reconsider what consciousness is and find some kinship with a creature so different from ourselves.
Godfrey-Smith capably outlines how evolution works, what we can surmise about how and why cephalopods came to evolve their extensive nervous systems and unique brains, and philosophically how we tackle consciousness in other creatures. He manages to balance his own wonder at these seemingly alien creatures with both the soft and hard sciences, leaving the reader intrigued and informed (and avoiding the dual pitfalls of sounding either too unscientific or too unequivocal where factual questions remain). A wonderful book for those interested in consciousness or cephalopods.
My love of reading was sparked in 3rd grade by the promise of personal pan pizzas via the BOOK IT! Program. Hmmmm... any chance that someone might give adults free food for reading? Asking for a friend...