Sentience: The Invention of Consciousness

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Product Details
$27.95  $25.99
MIT Press
Publish Date
6.06 X 9.06 X 1.02 inches | 1.1 pounds

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About the Author
Nicholas Humphrey, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the London School of Economics, is a theoretical psychologist based in Cambridge, who studies the evolution of intelligence and consciousness. He was the first to demonstrate the existence of "blindsight" in monkeys. He has also studied mountain gorillas with Dian Fossey in Rwanda, proposed the celebrated theory of the "social function of intellect," and investigated the evolutionary background of religion, art, healing, death-awareness and suicide. His honors include the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, the Pufendorf Medal, and the International Mind and Brain Prize. His most recent books are Seeing Red and Soul Dust.
Included in Lit Hub's Most Anticipated Books of 2023

"The history of science has alwyas relied on hard lines and clear categories, and for a long time one of the hardest of those lines was that between sentience and non-sentience. But as theoretical psychologist Nicholas Humphrey explores in Sentience, that line may not be as clear as initially thought, as discoveries in machine-learning, neurobiology, and animal consciousness raise more questions than they answer."
-- Lit Hub

"Wonderfully approachable . . . with a writing style somewhere between a deep conversation and a thought process. I particularly loved Humphrey's description of his heading off to Elba to investigate the paranormal claims of the eccentric Hugh Sartorius Whitaker and his experiences with Dian Fossey (not always pleasant) when visiting to study the 'natural psychologist' ability of gorillas. . . . Reading this book was a real pleasure."
-- Brian Clegg, Popular Science (UK)

"A stimulating exercise in experiment and speculation. . . [a] fascinating premise. . . . Complex and sometimes counterintuitive concepts rendered with admirable skill."
-- Kirkus Reviews

"Sentience is full of provocative ideas, as well as lively anecdotes from decades of pondering these issues. Humphrey's thesis offers a great deal to think about....[H]is book earns its place...and is a valiant reminder of how much there still is to understand."
-- New Scientist