Tuesday, February 2, 2021

A Declaration of Consciousness

Well, this is interesting.

I've now finished reading Sy Montgomery's book THE SOUL OF AN OCTOPUS, the author's personal account of her interactions with octopuses (including some at the Seattle Aquarium). Worth reading, though I wd have preferred less Montgomery and more octopuses.

As part of a discussion of octopus intelligence, towards the end of her book she mentions The Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness, a 2012 proclamation by a gathering of neuroscientists that some animal species --birds, mammals, octopus-- have the "neurological substrates that generate consciousness"; among the signatories was Stephen Hawkins. It's encouraging to see physiology catching up with observational research.

Reading this makes me look forward to the day when, post-pandemic, we'll be able to visit area aquariums again (being lucky enough to have not one but two, in Seattle and also Tacoma).

--John R.


Unknown said...

Hi John, have you read ‘Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea and the Deep Origins of Consciousness’ by Peter Godfrey-Smith?
It is very much concerned about the octopus, rather than the author.
However, the author does have a certain calibre in this field.

John D. Rateliff said...

Thanks for the recommendation. This was one among a number of similar books I was looking at a while back but I don't think I've read this one. I'll see if the library has it.
Fascinating subject in any case, and the Godfrey-Smith looks to be worth a skim if not a re-reading.