Peter Godfrey-Smith

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Peter Godfrey-Smith reads from "Other Minds" at Adelaide Writers Week 2018
Peter Godfrey-Smith reads from "Other Minds" at Adelaide Writers Week 2018

Peter Godfrey-Smith (born 1965) is an Australian philosopher of science and writer.


Godfrey-Smith is Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney and an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at CUNY Graduate Center. He works primarily in the Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Biology. Born in Australia in 1965, he received a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of California, San Diego in 1991 under the supervision of Philip Kitcher, and taught previously at Harvard University, Stanford University and Australian National University. Godfrey-Smith was the recipient of the Lakatos Award[1] for his 2009 book, Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection which discusses the philosophical foundations of the theory of evolution.[2][3]

His main research interests are in the philosophy of biology and the philosophy of mind. He also works on pragmatism (especially John Dewey), general philosophy of science, and some parts of metaphysics and epistemology.

He has criticized the arguments of intelligent design proponents.[4]

Other Minds[edit]

In 2016, Godfrey-Smith published the book Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness.[5] It explores the origin of sentience, consciousness and intelligence in the animal kingdom, specifically how it evolved in cephalopods compared to mammals and birds.[6][7][8]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature. Cambridge University Press. 1998. ISBN 0-521-64624-3.
  • Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. University of Chicago Press. 2003. ISBN 0-226-30062-5.
  • Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection (2009)
  • Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness (2016)


  1. ^
  2. ^ Gewertz, Ken (February 8, 2007). "The philosophy of evolution: Godfrey-Smith takes an evolutionary approach to how the mind works". Harvard University Gazette..
  3. ^ Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection. Oxford University Press. 2010.
  4. ^ Godfrey-Smith, Peter. (2001). Information and the Argument from Design. In Robert T. Pennock. Intelligent Design Creationism and its Critics: Philosophical, Theological and Scientific Perspectives. MIT Press. pp. 575-596.
  5. ^ Drake Baer (9 March 2017). "What's It Like to Be an Octopus?". New York Magazine. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  6. ^ Carl Safina (27 December 2016). "Thinking in the Deep: Inside the Mind of an Octopus". New York Times. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  7. ^ Philip Hoare (15 March 2017). "Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith review – the octopus as intelligent alien". Guardian. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  8. ^ Olivia Judson. "What the Octopus Knows". The Atlantic. Retrieved 9 July 2017.

External links[edit]