School of History and Philosophy of Science


Professor Peter Godfrey-Smith Metazoans: the animal spirit and the birth of consciousness

In his acclaimed book, Other minds, Peter Godfrey-Smith explored the spirit of the octopus – the closest thing to an intelligent alien on Earth. In Metazoa, he extends his investigation to animals in general, studying the evolution of the experiment with the help of distant species. Godfrey-Smith shows that the appearance of the first animal body form well over half a billion years ago was a profound innovation that set life on a new path. It describes the ways in which subsequent evolutionary developments – the eyes that follow, for example, and the bodies that move and manipulate the environment – shaped the lives of animals. By following the evolutionary trajectories of a glass sponge, a soft coral, a banded shrimp, an octopus and a fish, then moving towards the earth and the world of insects, birds and primates like us, Metazoa brings these stories together to bridge the gap between matter and spirit and answer one of the most important philosophical questions: What is the origin of consciousness?


The origins of modern science is the first attempt at a synthetic account of the history of science for several decades. Providing readers of all backgrounds and students of all disciplines with the tools to study science like a historian, Ofer Gal covers a mind-boggling array of topics ranging from antiquity to the scientific revolution, from Pythagorean mathematics to Newton’s mathematics. Principia.

The story winds through Islamic medicine, medieval architecture, world trade, Mongolian astronomy, and learned and practical magic. Richly illustrated throughout, the book presents scientific reasoning and practices in an accessible and engaging manner, with an emphasis on the complex relationships between institutions, beliefs, and political structures and customs. It offers valuable new perspectives on the role that science plays both in history and in the world today, placing the crucial challenges of science and technology of our time in their historical and cultural context. .


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