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Peter Godfrey-Smith Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Philosophy of Biology (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Metazoa: Animal Life and the Birth of the Mind (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Living on Earth (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Science and Its Conceptual Foundations Books

The Great Devonian Controversy (By: Martin J.S. Rudwick) (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
Images of science (By: Paul M. Churchland) (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Shaky Game (By: Arthur Fine) (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior (By: Robert J. Richards) (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
From Mineralogy to Geology (By: Rachel Laudan) (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Science As a Process (By: David L. Hull) (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Explaining Science (By: Ronald N. Giere) (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Highlands Controversy (By: David Oldroyd) (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Science and Relativism (By: Larry Laudan) (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Reading the Shape of Nature (By: Mary P. Winsor) (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
The State of Nature (By: Gregg Mitman) (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Descartes' Metaphysical Physics (By: Daniel Garber) (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Meaning of Evolution (By: Robert J. Richards) (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Politics of Evolution, Morphology, Medicine, and Reform in Radical London (By: Adrian J. Desmond) (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Economics--Mathematical Politics or Science of Diminishing Returns? (By: Alex Rosenberg) (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Galileo, Courtier (By: Mario Biagioli) (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Styles of Scientific Thought (By: Jonathan Harwood) (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
In the Wake of Chaos (By: Stephen H. Kellert) (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Berkeley's Philosophy of Mathematics (By: Douglas M. Jesseph) (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Social History of Truth (By: Steven Shapin) (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Discovery and Explanation in Biology and Medicine (By: Kenneth F. Schaffner) (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Durkheim's Philosophy of Science and the Sociology of Knowledge: Creating an Intellectual Niche (By: Warren Schmaus) (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Instrumental Biology, or The Disunity of Science (By: Alex Rosenberg) (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Quantum Mechanics (By: James T. Cushing) (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Diffident Naturalist (By: Rose-Mary Sargent) (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Biology Takes Form (By: Lynn K. Nyhart) (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Modeling Nature (By: Sharon E. Kingsland) (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
What Emotions Really Are (By: Paul E. Griffiths) (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sex and Death (By: Kim Sterelny,Paul E. Griffiths) (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Squaring the Circle (By: Douglas M. Jesseph) (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Quantum Dialogue (By: Mara Beller) (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Reconciling Science and Religion (By: Peter J. Bowler) (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Romantic Conception of Life (By: Robert J. Richards) (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Theory and Reality (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon

Peter Godfrey-Smith
Peter Godfrey-Smith is a professor in the School of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney.

He was born in Australia in 1965 and grew up in Sydney, Australia. His undergrad degree is from the University of Sydney, and has a PhD in Philosophy from UC San Diego. From 1991 until 2003, he taught at Stanford University, and then combined a half-time post at the Australian National University and a visiting position for a few years.

Peter then took up a full time position at Harvard and was Professor of Philosophy from 2006 until 2011, before he moved to CUNY Graduate Center where he was from 2011 until 2017. After that he started a half time position in the HPS program at the University of Sydney in 2015, which became a full time post in 2017. Then in 2022, he was elected to the American Philosophical Society.

His main research interests are in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of biology. Peter also works on general philosophy of science, pragmatism (particularly John Dewey), and some parts of epistemology and metaphysics.

Peter’s videos and photos have appeared in National Geographic, the New York Times, The Guardian, The Boston Globe, Science, as well as other places.

Peter received the Lakatos Award for his 2009 book, called “Darwinian Populations and Natural Selections”.

“Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2016. Although birds and mammals are widely regarded as being the smartest creatures on earth, it’s lately become more clear that a very distant branch of the tree of life has also sprouted higher intelligence: the cephalopods, which consist of the cuttlefish, the squid, and the octopus, above all. In captivity, octopuses have been known to raid the neighboring tanks for food, identify individual human keepers, plug drains, turn light bulbs by spouting jets of water, and make daring escapes.

How is it that a creature with such gifts as these evolved through an evolutionary lineage so radically distant from ours? What could it mean that evolution built minds not once but at least twice? The octopus is the closest that we’ll come to meeting an intelligent alien. What can we possibly learn from such an encounter?

In this book, Peter tells a bold new story about how subjective experience crept into being, how nature became aware of itself. Like he stresses, it’s a tale that largely occurs down in the ocean, where animals first appeared. Tracking the mind’s fitful development, Peter shows just how unruly clumps of seaborne cells start living together and became capable of signaling, sensing, and acting. While these primitive organisms start getting more entangled with others, they grew to be more complex. The first nervous systems evolved, probably in ancient relatives of jellyfish; and later on, the cephalopods, which started as inconspicuous mollusks, before abandoning their shells and rose above the ocean floor, hunting for prey and acquiring the greater intelligence that was needed to do so. Taking an independent route, birds and mammals later started evolutionary journeys of their own.

However what sort of intelligence do cephalopods possess? Drawing upon latest scientific research and his scuba diving adventures, Peter probes the many mysteries which surround the lineage. How could the octopus, a solitary creature without much of a social life, get to be so smart? What happens when some octopuses abandon their hermit ways and congregate, like they do in a unique location just off the Australian coast? What’s it like to have eight tentacles which are so packed with neurons that they virtually “think for themselves”?

By tracing the question about inner life back to its roots and comparing human beings with our most remarkable animal relatives, Peter casts this crucial new light on the octopus mind, as well as our own.

Peter regales the reader with such startling, endearing, and delightful stories about the cephalopods of the sea. He’s a marvelous storyteller, and he makes you barely aware that you’re reading nonfiction because his narrative voice is so observant, warm, curious, and illuminating.

“Other Minds” was shortlisted for the 2017 Royal Society Science Book Prize and has been published in over twenty languages.

“Metazoa: Animal Life and the Birth of the Mind” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2020. Exploring the origins of animal consciousness.

Dip underneath the ocean’s surface and you’re soon confronted by life forms which could not seem more foreign from our own: soft corals, sea sponges, and serpulid worms, whose intricate geometry, rooted bodies, and flower-like appendages are that much more reminiscent of plant life or even architecture than anything that’s recognizably animal. But these creatures are our cousins. While fellow members of the animal kingdom (the Metazoa) they can teach us a lot about the evolutionary origins of not just our bodies, but our minds too.

Peter expands his inquiry to animals at large, investigating the evolution of subjective experience with the assistance of far-flung species. While delving into what it really feels like to interact and perceive with the world like other forms of life do, Peter shows that the appearance of the animal body more than a billion years ago was a profound innovation which set life upon its new path. With riveting and accessible prose, he charts all of the ways that subsequent evolutionary developments, like eyes that track, for example, and bodies which move through and will manipulate the environment, shaped the subjective lives of animals.

Following the evolutionary paths of a soft coral, octopus, glass sponge, fish, banded shrimp, before moving onto land and the world of birds, insects, and primates just like ourselves, this book gathers together stories in such a way which bridges the gap between matter and mind, addressing one of the most vexing philosophical problems: one of consciousness.

Combining philosophical reflects and the latest biology news with vivid animal encounters, this book reveals that even in our AI driven and high tech times, there’s no understanding our minds without understanding muscles, nerves, and active bodies. The resulting story is just as vibrant and rich as life itself.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Peter Godfrey-Smith

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