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Godfrey-Smith is intrigued by the octopus for some of the same reasons I like studying insects: they force me to throw away the crutch of close evolutionary affiliation that primatologists rely upon. Octopuses are like us, but they raise the question of how, and perhaps more interesting, why they are like us. Assuming we are both conscious, it is virtually impossible to suppose we inherited that quality from a common ancestor — we were last linked hundreds of millions of years ago, with many forebears in between who have the sentience of a breadbox. The octopus forces us to consider how the mind comes to be, separate from its existence in humans. In short, Other Minds doesn’t use the octopus merely as an excuse to talk about people, though to be sure it helps us understand the possible meaning of consciousness in both species.

full: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/squishy-sentience
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