The Soul of an Octopus Themes

Sy Montgomery
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Consciousness

Montgomery explores first and foremost the form that consciousness takes in octopuses. She returns to the aquarium again and again to observe whether the octopuses will get to know her, remember her, become friends with her, and gain an understanding of her personality. Montgomery considers the octopus’ physiology as another point of access to understand its consciousness. She contemplates the experience of having eight limbs, as well as the evolutionary implications of this structure to the animal’s thinking process. And Montgomery, as well as a number of researchers, consider the octopus’ unique neural structure. Since the neurons are not as concentrated in the head for octopuses as they are for humans, they may not have a sense of self, or a system of self-identification, in the way that most mammals do. Understanding these possibilities in the expression and form of consciousness is revealing to the phenomenon as...

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This section contains 2,158 words
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