I really loved Godfrey-Smith’s Other Minds, so I was expecting something pretty readable and entertaining here. Godfrey-Smith is using the opportunity to dig further into how he thinks minds are formed, and it’s a mixture of science, speculation and philosophy, as was Other Minds. I found, though, that it just didn’t keep my attention very well. It felt like he was taking ages to dig into each point, and like this was a much more self-consciously Serious Book instead of something that shared the wonder and excitement of an animal he loves.
Where he does lean on science, I don’t know anything to his detriment, but it’s not really a field I enjoy very much. I did have a module in my undergrad called “the science of the mind”, but it didn’t really go into this area much at all. There are definitely interesting anecdotes, but sometimes I wanted him to dig into them more — for instance, split brain patients.
A bit disappointing for me, overall, though probably enjoyable for someone who likes grappling with the problem of the evolution of minds.
Greetings, friends! I just caught up on all the unanswered blog comments I could find — and I’ll try to be better here on out!
What are you currently reading?
Without much enthusiasm, Peter Godfrey-Smith’s Metazoa. I remembered really liking Other Minds, so I am disappointed by this one, which I’m not finding very readable. I don’t expect much popular science stuff that focuses on biology to be new to me except in the finer details — I read it for a) obscure factoids and b) comfort through familiarity and order — but this one isn’t new and it’s slooow.
I’m also partway through Abaddon’s Gate (James S.A. Corey), and a reread of Fire & Hemlock (Diana Wynne Jones). It’s fun to rediscover the latter now I have a more than passing familiarity with the Tam Lin story.
What have you recently finished reading?
Uhhh, good question… I think the last thing was Network Effect (Martha Wells) and The Churn (James S.A. Corey). The former was a lot of fun; it is nice to hang out with Murderbot. The latter was… superfluous, I think, if you’ve read the main series. It doesn’t tell us much more about Amos than we already knew.
What will you be reading next?
Nooo idea. My brain isn’t cooperating very much, so I think it’ll be a while before I get to reading something else.