Other Minds

The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life

Author: Peter Godfrey-Smith

Publisher: William Collins

ISBN: 9780008226299

Category:

Page: 255

View: 4980

'Brilliant' GuardianWaterstones Non-Fiction Book of the Month (March) SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE What if intelligent life on Earth evolved not once, but 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 nature became aware of itself - a story that largely occurs in the ocean, where animals first appeared. Tracking the mind's fitful development from unruly clumps of seaborne cells to the first evolved nervous systems in ancient relatives of jellyfish, he explores the incredible evolutionary journey of the cephalopods, which began as inconspicuous molluscs who would later abandon their shells to rise above the ocean floor, searching for prey and acquiring the greater intelligence needed to do so - a journey completely independent from the route that mammals and birds would later take. But what kind of intelligence do cephalopods possess? 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'? 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.
Animal communication

Other Minds

The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness

Author: Peter Godfrey-Smith

Publisher: William Collins

ISBN: 9780008226275

Category: Animal communication

Page: 272

View: 8916

'Brilliant' Guardian 'Fascinating and often delightful' The Times What if intelligent life on Earth evolved not once, but 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 nature became aware of itself - a story that largely occurs in the ocean, where animals first appeared. Tracking the mind's fitful development from unruly clumps of seaborne cells to the first evolved nervous systems in ancient relatives of jellyfish, he explores the incredible evolutionary journey of the cephalopods, which began as inconspicuous molluscs who would later abandon their shells to rise above the ocean floor, searching for prey and acquiring the greater intelligence needed to do so - a journey completely independent from the route that mammals and birds would later take. But what kind of intelligence do cephalopods possess? 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'? 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.
Science

Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life

Author: Peter Godfrey-Smith

Publisher: HarperCollins UK

ISBN: 0008226288

Category: Science

Page: 272

View: 7067

‘Brilliant’ Guardian ‘Fascinating and often delightful’ The Times SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE What if intelligent life on Earth evolved not once, but twice? The octopus is the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien. What can we learn from the encounter?
Science

Venomous

How Earth's Deadliest Creatures Mastered Biochemistry

Author: Christie Wilcox

Publisher: Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0374712212

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 2202

A thrilling tale of encounters with nature’s masters of biochemistry From the coasts of Indonesia to the rainforests of Peru, venomous animals are everywhere—and often lurking out of sight. Humans have feared them for centuries, long considering them the assassins and pariahs of the natural world. Now, in Venomous, the biologist Christie Wilcox investigates and illuminates the animals of our nightmares, arguing that they hold the keys to a deeper understanding of evolution, adaptation, and immunity. She reveals just how venoms function and what they do to the human body. With Wilcox as our guide, we encounter a jellyfish with tentacles covered in stinging cells that can kill humans in minutes; a two-inch caterpillar with toxic bristles that trigger hemorrhaging; and a stunning blue-ringed octopus capable of inducing total paralysis. How do these animals go about their deadly work? How did they develop such intricate, potent toxins? Wilcox takes us around the world and down to the cellular level to find out. Throughout her journey, Wilcox meets the intrepid scientists who risk their lives studying these lethal beasts, as well as “self-immunizers” who deliberately expose themselves to snakebites. Along the way, she puts her own life on the line, narrowly avoiding being envenomated herself. Drawing on her own research, Wilcox explains how venom scientists are untangling the mechanisms of some of our most devastating diseases, and reports on pharmacologists who are already exploiting venoms to produce lifesaving drugs. We discover that venomous creatures are in fact keystone species that play crucial roles in their ecosystems and ours—and for this alone, they ought to be protected and appreciated. Thrilling and surprising at every turn, Venomous will change everything you thought you knew about the planet’s most dangerous animals.
Nature

The Soul of an Octopus

A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness

Author: Sy Montgomery

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1501161148

Category: Nature

Page: 272

View: 9317

Finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction * New York Times Bestseller * Starred Booklist and Library Journal Editors’ Spring Pick * 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 the Year * An American Library Association Notable Book of the Year “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 “One of the best science books of the year.” —Science Friday, NPR 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.
Computers

The Measure of All Minds

Evaluating Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Author: José Hernández-Orallo

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1316943208

Category: Computers

Page: N.A

View: 7637

Are psychometric tests valid for a new reality of artificial intelligence systems, technology-enhanced humans, and hybrids yet to come? Are the Turing Test, the ubiquitous CAPTCHAs, and the various animal cognition tests the best alternatives? In this fascinating and provocative book, José Hernández-Orallo formulates major scientific questions, integrates the most significant research developments, and offers a vision of the universal evaluation of cognition. By replacing the dominant anthropocentric stance with a universal perspective where living organisms are considered as a special case, long-standing questions in the evaluation of behavior can be addressed in a wider landscape. Can we derive task difficulty intrinsically? Is a universal g factor - a common general component for all abilities - theoretically possible? Using algorithmic information theory as a foundation, the book elaborates on the evaluation of perceptual, developmental, social, verbal and collective features and critically analyzes what the future of intelligence might look like.
Nature

Squid Empire

The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods

Author: Danna Staaf

Publisher: University Press of New England

ISBN: 1512601284

Category: Nature

Page: 256

View: 9125

Before there were mammals on land, there were dinosaurs. And before there were fish in the sea, there were cephalopods-the ancestors of modern squid and Earth's first truly substantial animals. Cephalopods became the first creatures to rise from the seafloor, essentially inventing the act of swimming. With dozens of tentacles and formidable shells, they presided over an undersea empire for millions of years. But when fish evolved jaws, the ocean's former top predator became its most delicious snack. Cephalopods had to step up their game. Many species streamlined their shells and added defensive spines, but these enhancements only provided a brief advantage. Some cephalopods then abandoned the shell entirely, which opened the gates to a flood of evolutionary innovations: masterful camouflage, fin-supplemented jet propulsion, perhaps even dolphin-like intelligence. Squid Empire is an epic adventure spanning hundreds of millions of years, from the marine life of the primordial ocean to the calamari on tonight's menu. Anyone who enjoys the undersea world-along with all those obsessed with things prehistoric-will be interested in the sometimes enormous, often bizarre creatures that ruled the seas long before the first dinosaurs.
Nature

Kraken

The Curious, Exciting, and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid

Author: Wendy Williams

Publisher: Abrams

ISBN: 1613120850

Category: Nature

Page: 224

View: 8246

Kraken is the traditional name for gigantic sea monsters, and this book introduces one of the most charismatic, enigmatic, and curious inhabitants of the sea: the squid. The pages take the reader on a wild narrative ride through the world of squid science and adventure, along the way addressing some riddles about what intelligence is, and what monsters lie in the deep. In addition to squid, both giant and otherwise, Kraken examines other equally enthralling cephalopods, including the octopus and the cuttlefish, and explores their otherworldly abilities, such as camouflage and bioluminescence. Accessible and entertaining, Kraken is also the first substantial volume on the subject in more than a decade and a must for fans of popular science. Praise for KRAKEN: The Curious, Exciting, and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid "Williams writes with a deft, supple hand as she surveys these spindly, extraordinary beasts and their world. She reminds us that the known world might be considerably larger than in the days of the bestiary-makers, but there is still room for wonder and strangeness." -Los Angeles Times.com "Williams's account of squid, octopuses, and other cephalopods abounds with both ancient legend and modern science." -Discover "[Exposes squid's] eerie similarities to the human species, down to eye structure and the all-important brain cell, the neuron." -New York Post "just the right mix of history and science" -ForeWord Reviews "Kraken is an engaging and expansive biography of a creature that sparks our imagination and stimulates our curiosity. It's a perfect blend of storytelling and science." -Vincent Pieribone, author of Aglow in the Dark KRAKEN extracts pure joy, intellectual exhilaration, and deep wonder from the most unlikely of places--squid. It is hard to read Wendy Williams's luminous account and not feel the thrill of discovery of the utterly profound connections we share with squid and all other living things on the planet. With wit, passion, and skill as a storyteller, Williams has given us a beautiful window into our world and ourselves. --Neil Shubin, author of the national bestseller "Your Inner Fish" Wendy William's KRAKEN weaves vignettes of stories about historical encounters with squid and octopus, with stories of today's scientists who are captivated by these animals. Her compelling book has the power to change your world-view about these creatures of the sea, while telling the gripping, wholly comprehensible story of the ways in which these animals have changed human medical history. --Mark J. Spalding, President, The Ocean Foundation
Philosophy

Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection

Author: Peter Godfrey-Smith

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191609552

Category: Philosophy

Page: 218

View: 2553

In 1859 Darwin described a deceptively simple mechanism that he called "natural selection," a combination of variation, inheritance, and reproductive success. He argued that this mechanism was the key to explaining the most puzzling features of the natural world, and science and philosophy were changed forever as a result. The exact nature of the Darwinian process has been controversial ever since, however. Godfrey-Smith draws on new developments in biology, philosophy of science, and other fields to give a new analysis and extension of Darwin's idea. The central concept used is that of a "Darwinian population," a collection of things with the capacity to undergo change by natural selection. From this starting point, new analyses of the role of genes in evolution, the application of Darwinian ideas to cultural change, and "evolutionary transitions" that produce complex organisms and societies are developed. Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection will be essential reading for anyone interested in evolutionary theory
Nature

Octopus

The Ocean's Intelligent Invertebrate

Author: Roland C. Anderson,Jennifer A. Mather,James B. Wood

Publisher: Timber Press

ISBN: 1604695005

Category: Nature

Page: 240

View: 5405

The visually arresting and often misunderstood octopus has long captured popular imagination. With an alien appearance and an uncanny intellect, this exceptional sea creature has inspired fear in famous lore and legends—from the giant octopus attack in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to Ursula the sea witch in The Little Mermaid. Yet its true nature is more wondrous still. After decades of research, the authors reveal a sensitive, curious, and playful animal with remarkable intelligence, an ability to defend itself with camouflage and jet propulsion, an intricate nervous system, and advanced problem-solving abilities. In this beautifully photographed book, three leading marine biologists bring readers face to face with these amazingly complex animals that have fascinated scientists for decades. From the molluscan ancestry of today’s octopus to its ingenious anatomy, amazing mating and predatory behaviors, and other-worldly relatives, the authors take readers through the astounding life cycle, uncovering the details of distinctive octopus personalities. With personal narratives, underwater research, stunning closeup photography, and thoughtful guidance for keeping octopuses in captivity, Octopus is the first comprehensive natural history of this smart denizen of the sea.
Science

Other Minds

The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness

Author: Peter Godfrey-Smith

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0374712808

Category: Science

Page: 272

View: 3912

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.
Science

Octopus!

The Most Mysterious Creature in the Sea

Author: Katherine Harmon Courage

Publisher: Current

ISBN: 1617230146

Category: Science

Page: 242

View: 3758

An all-encompassing survey of the mysterious cephalopod draws on the author's transatlantic expeditions and interviews with leading experts to cover the scientific discoveries, mythologies and cultural meals associated with the octopus.
Science

Cephalopod Behaviour

Author: Roger T. Hanlon,John B. Messenger

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1108547842

Category: Science

Page: N.A

View: 3710

With their large brains, elaborate sense organs and complex behaviour, cephalopods are among the world's most highly evolved invertebrates. This second edition summarises the wealth of exciting new research data stemming from over five hundred papers published since the first volume appeared. It adopts a comparative approach to causation, function, development and evolution as it explores cephalopod behaviour in natural habitats and the laboratory. Extensive colour and black-and-white photography illustrates various aspects of cephalopod behaviour to complement the scientific analysis. Covering the major octopus, squid and cuttlefish species, as well as the shelled Nautilus, this is an essential resource for undergraduate and advanced students of animal behaviour, as well as researchers new to cephalopods, in fields such as neuroscience and conservation biology. By highlighting the gaps in current knowledge, the text looks to inform and to stimulate further study of these enigmatic and beautiful animals.
Philosophy

From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds

Author: Daniel C. Dennett

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393242080

Category: Philosophy

Page: 448

View: 8807

“[The] best scientific-philosophical approach to understanding how consciousness evolved.… A wonderful book that will shape and drive thinking for years to come.”—Shane O’Mara, Times Higher Education How did we come to have minds? For centuries, poets, philosophers, psychologists, and physicists have wondered how the human mind developed its unrivaled abilities. Disciples of Darwin have explained how natural selection produced plants, but what about the human mind? In From Bacteria to Bach and Back, Daniel C. Dennett builds on recent discoveries from biology and computer science to show, step by step, how a comprehending mind could in fact have arisen from a mindless process of natural selection. A crucial shift occurred when humans developed the ability to share memes, or ways of doing things not based in genetic instinct. Competition among memes produced thinking tools powerful enough that our minds don’t just perceive and react, they create and comprehend. An agenda-setting book for a new generation of philosophers and scientists, From Bacteria to Bach and Back will delight and entertain all those curious about how the mind works.
Science

Philosophy of Biology

Author: Peter Godfrey-Smith

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400850444

Category: Science

Page: 200

View: 2287

This is a concise, comprehensive, and accessible introduction to the philosophy of biology written by a leading authority on the subject. Geared to philosophers, biologists, and students of both, the book provides sophisticated and innovative coverage of the central topics and many of the latest developments in the field. Emphasizing connections between biological theories and other areas of philosophy, and carefully explaining both philosophical and biological terms, Peter Godfrey-Smith discusses the relation between philosophy and science; examines the role of laws, mechanistic explanation, and idealized models in biological theories; describes evolution by natural selection; and assesses attempts to extend Darwin's mechanism to explain changes in ideas, culture, and other phenomena. Further topics include functions and teleology, individuality and organisms, species, the tree of life, and human nature. The book closes with detailed, cutting-edge treatments of the evolution of cooperation, of information in biology, and of the role of communication in living systems at all scales. Authoritative and up-to-date, this is an essential guide for anyone interested in the important philosophical issues raised by the biological sciences.
Psychology

Beyond the Brain

How Body and Environment Shape Animal and Human Minds

Author: Louise Barrett

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400838349

Category: Psychology

Page: 288

View: 8481

When a chimpanzee stockpiles rocks as weapons or when a frog sends out mating calls, we might easily assume these animals know their own motivations--that they use the same psychological mechanisms that we do. But as Beyond the Brain indicates, this is a dangerous assumption because animals have different evolutionary trajectories, ecological niches, and physical attributes. How do these differences influence animal thinking and behavior? Removing our human-centered spectacles, Louise Barrett investigates the mind and brain and offers an alternative approach for understanding animal and human cognition. Drawing on examples from animal behavior, comparative psychology, robotics, artificial life, developmental psychology, and cognitive science, Barrett provides remarkable new insights into how animals and humans depend on their bodies and environment--not just their brains--to behave intelligently. Barrett begins with an overview of human cognitive adaptations and how these color our views of other species, brains, and minds. Considering when it is worth having a big brain--or indeed having a brain at all--she investigates exactly what brains are good at. Showing that the brain's evolutionary function guides action in the world, she looks at how physical structure contributes to cognitive processes, and she demonstrates how these processes employ materials and resources in specific environments. Arguing that thinking and behavior constitute a property of the whole organism, not just the brain, Beyond the Brain illustrates how the body, brain, and cognition are tied to the wider world.
Nature

What a Fish Knows

The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins

Author: Jonathan Balcombe

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 0374288216

Category: Nature

Page: 304

View: 2396

Do fishes think? Do they really have three-second memories? And can they recognize the humans who peer back at them from above the surface of the water? In What a Fish Knows, the myth-busting ethologist Jonathan Balcombe addresses these questions and more, taking us under the sea, through streams and estuaries, and to the other side of the aquarium glass to reveal the surprising capabilities of fishes. Although there are more than thirty thousand species of fish—more than all mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians combined—we rarely consider how individual fishes think, feel, and behave. Balcombe upends our assumptions about fishes, portraying them not as unfeeling, dead-eyed feeding machines but as sentient, aware, social, and even Machiavellian—in other words, much like us. What a Fish Knows draws on the latest science to present a fresh look at these remarkable creatures in all their breathtaking diversity and beauty. Fishes conduct elaborate courtship rituals and develop lifelong bonds with shoalmates. They also plan, hunt cooperatively, use tools, curry favor, deceive one another, and punish wrongdoers. We may imagine that fishes lead simple, fleeting lives—a mode of existence that boils down to a place on the food chain, rote spawning, and lots of aimless swimming. But, as Balcombe demonstrates, the truth is far richer and more complex, worthy of the grandest social novel. Highlighting breakthrough discoveries from fish enthusiasts and scientists around the world and pondering his own encounters with fishes, Balcombe examines the fascinating means by which fishes gain knowledge of the places they inhabit, from shallow tide pools to the deepest reaches of the ocean. Teeming with insights and exciting discoveries, What a Fish Knows offers a thoughtful appraisal of our relationships with fishes and inspires us to take a more enlightened view of the planet’s increasingly imperiled marine life. What a Fish Knows will forever change how we see our aquatic cousins—the pet goldfish included.
Philosophy

Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature

Author: Peter Godfrey-Smith

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521646246

Category: Philosophy

Page: 328

View: 7318

This book explains the relationship between intelligence and environmental complexity, and in so doing links philosophy of mind to more general issues about the relations between organisms and environments, and to the general pattern of 'externalist' explanations. The author provides a biological approach to the investigation of mind and cognition in nature. In particular he explores the idea that the function of cognition is to enable agents to deal with environmental complexity. The history of the idea in the work of Dewey and Spencer is considered, as is the impact of recent evolutionary theory on our understanding of the place of mind in nature.
Biography & Autobiography

Helmholtz

A Life in Science

Author: David Cahan

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022654916X

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 944

View: 3351

Hermann von Helmholtz was a towering figure of nineteenth-century scientific and intellectual life. Best known for his achievements in physiology and physics, he also contributed to other disciplines such as ophthalmology, psychology, mathematics, chemical thermodynamics, and meteorology. With Helmholtz: A Life in Science, David Cahan has written a definitive biography, one that brings to light the dynamic relationship between Helmholtz’s private life, his professional pursuits, and the larger world in which he lived. ​ Utilizing all of Helmholtz’s scientific and philosophical writings, as well as previously unknown letters, this book reveals the forces that drove his life—a passion to unite the sciences, vigilant attention to the sources and methods of knowledge, and a deep appreciation of the ways in which the arts and sciences could benefit each other. By placing the overall structure and development of his scientific work and philosophy within the greater context of nineteenth-century Germany, Helmholtz also serves as cultural biography of the construction of the scientific community: its laboratories, institutes, journals, disciplinary organizations, and national and international meetings. Helmholtz’s life is a shining example of what can happen when the sciences and the humanities become interwoven in the life of one highly motivated, energetic, and gifted person.
Science

The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins

Author: Hal Whitehead,Luke Rendell

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226895319

Category: Science

Page: 417

View: 9876

Drawing on their own research as well as scientific literature including evolutionary biology, animal behavior, ecology, anthropology, psychology and neuroscience, two cetacean biologists submerge themselves in the unique environment in which whales and dolphins live.