Scientists, philosophers, and laypeople agree that animals have consciousness, sculpted into different shapes by the same evolutionary mechanisms that created ours. But much about these mechanisms and their products remains mysterious: why and how would natural selection lead to sensation, or to subjective awareness? How fruitful is it to compare the quality of our consciousness to that of an octopus, a parrot, or a coral? This talk, moderated by LEAP Student Fellow Lindsay Stern (Ph.D. ‘23), will feature philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith discussing these questions and his new book about them, Metazoa: Animal Life and the Birth of the Mind.
Peter Godfrey-Smith is a professor in the School of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney, and has dedicated his career to the philosophy of biology and the philosophy of the mind, metaphysics, and epistemology.