His 2013 book, How Forests Think, has been described by Cambridge Professor of Anthropology Marilyn Strathern as "thought-leaping in the most creative sense," and "[a] supreme artifact of the human skill in symbolic thinking.". The work draws upon four years ethnographic fieldwork with the Runa in the Upper Amazon in order to challenge the most basic assumptions of anthropological thought. Using the semiotic theory of Charles Sanders Peirce, Kohn proposes that all life forms, not only humans, engage in processes of signification and therefore should be considered as able to think and learn. Arguing that selfhood does not solely belong to humans, Kohn proposes that any entity which communicates through the use of signs can be considered a self, leading to a complex 'ecology of selves' of which humans and nonhumans are both a part. Kohn's work builds upon a growing body of literature, from authors such as Bruno Latour, Donna Haraway and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, which seeks to take the social sciences beyond the limits of strictly human relations.
How Forests Think has been criticized for using a very weak definition of "thinking": "Under such a definition, a wide range of things could be said to think. However, this is no revolutionary discovery; it is simply a semantic shift giving the illusion of novelty." Moreover, it has been argued that Kohn's weak definition of thinking does not account for the phenomenon of anthropomorphism and animism discussed by Philippe Descola and others.
- Further Thoughts on Sylvan Thinking in Hau vol. 4 No. 2 (2014)
- How Forests Think: Towards an Anthropology Beyond the Human, University of California Press (2013)
- How dogs dream: Amazonian natures and the politics of transspecies engagement in American Ethnologist, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 3–24 (2007)
- “An anti-nominalist book”: Eduardo Kohn on How Forests Think
- Eduardo Kohn’s How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human by Frédéric Keck
- The Way Life Thinks by Barbara J King for Times Literary Supplement
- Eduardo Kohn awarded 2014 Bateson Prize | http://www.culanth.org/fieldsights/625-eduardo-kohn-awarded-the-2014-bateson-prize Archived 2016-01-31 at the Wayback Machine
- Reviews at University of California Press http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520276109
- Kohn, Eduardo (2013) How Forests Think: Towards and Anthropology Beyond the Human, University of California Press
- Fortier, Martin (May 2018). "Of Trees and Signs". Books & Ideas.
- Hau vol. 4 No.2 (2014), http://www.haujournal.org/index.php/hau/issue/view/hau4.2
- On selves, forms, and forces | http://www.haujournal.org/index.php/hau/article/view/hau4.2.014/1129
- All too human (still): A comment on Eduardo Kohn's How forests think