Could sea creatures unlock the origins of the mind?

1 Replies, 326 Views

Could sea creatures unlock the origins of the mind?

J. Bastian

Quote:When it comes to understanding the mind, philosopher, writer and diver Peter Godfrey-Smith suggests marine life may hold some illuminating answers. Among the vast array of marine life, shrimp, coral, and cuttlefish exhibit amazing levels of consciousness and the octopus with its many tentacles and 8 limbs-- functions as a creature with multiple “selves.”  What can we learn from the way these animals experience the world? Could sea creatures unlock the origins of the mind?

KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian talks with Peter Godrey-Smith about his new book “Metazoa: Animal Life and the Birth of the Mind” about his exploration of levels of consciousness and “self” among some of his favorite undersea creatures.
Quote:Is there this problem of projecting our human way of thinking, our human way of understanding self on to these creatures? 

Godfrey-Smith: “There is a problem there and this is a good point to talk about the octopus. One of the reasons octopuses are an important case in the story, is the fact that there's a kind of ‘centeredness of self’ that we humans, and probably lots of other mammals and vertebrates have as a consequence of how our nervous systems are set up and our bodily organization There's a ‘centeredness of self’ that might be absent or very different in some animals with different organizations and the octopus is the outstanding case, because most of its nervous system is not concentrated in the head between the eyes but spread through the body, especially in the upper part of the arms. There's a gigantic network of control devices and sensors in the arms, which is larger than the central brain. 

So when we look at an octopus and try to imagine what it's experience is like, one of the big questions is how we should tackle these differences in organization that might imply differences in the kind of “selfhood” that's present there. This is another question, which I'd love to give a definitive answer on how to handle this but I think it has some very puzzling features.”
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2021-02-03, 12:36 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
Hidden World of Octopus Cities Shows We Must Leave These Sentient Creatures Alone

Kristin Andrews


Quote:The proposal to start an octopus farm is a proposal to create a new octopus culture, because when cultural animals are brought together, they can't help but create society.

It's also a proposal to create a new kind of octopus: the cultural behaviors coupled with the captive environment will be a novel environmental niche that shapes subsequent evolution.

Our familiar farmed animals – like Angus cows and Chocktaw hogs – have been domesticated and are entirely different from the animals they evolved from.

Many of our domesticated animals cannot survive without human care. Examples include domestic rabbits, that have evolved without the instincts and coloring wild rabbits have to protect them from predators, sheep whose wool grows too thick without regular trimming, and chickens bred for meat that can't walk as adults because their breasts are too heavy.

Starting an octopus farm is a commitment to creating a new kind of animal that relies on humans for their existence. It isn't an idea to be taken up lightly, or a project that can responsibly be attempted and then discarded when it turns out to be too difficult or not profitable.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


[-] The following 1 user Likes Sciborg_S_Patel's post:
  • Laird

  • View a Printable Version
Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)