Peter Godfrey-Smith

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.[1] He works primarily in philosophy of biology and philosophy of mind, and also has interests in general philosophy of science, pragmatism (especially the work of John Dewey), and some parts of metaphysics and epistemology.

Born in Australia in 1965, Godfrey-Smith received a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of California, San Diego in 1991 under the supervision of Philip Kitcher. He previously taught at Harvard University,[2] Stanford University, Australian National University, and the CUNY Graduate Center.[3] Godfrey-Smith was the recipient of the Lakatos Award[4] for his 2009 book, Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection which discusses the philosophical foundations of the theory of evolution.[5][6]

He has criticized the arguments of intelligent design proponents.[7]

Other Minds

In 2016, Godfrey-Smith published the book Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness.[8] It explores the origin of sentience, consciousness and intelligence in the animal kingdom, specifically how it evolved in cephalopods compared to mammals and birds.[9][10][11]

Selected publications

  • Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature (1998)
  • Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (2003)
  • Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection (2009)
  • Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness (2016)


  1. "University of Sydney - Academic Staff". ‘’The University of Sydney’’. Retrieved 6 Dec 2018.
  2. "Godfrey-Smith joins FAS as professor of philosophy". ‘’The Harvard Gazette’’. 16 Feb 2006. Retrieved 6 Dec 2018.
  3. "A final talk by (and party for) Peter Godfrey-Smith". ‘’CUNY Philosophy Academic Commons’’. 2 Dec 2017. Retrieved 6 Dec 2018.
  5. Gewertz, Ken (February 8, 2007). "The philosophy of evolution: Godfrey-Smith takes an evolutionary approach to how the mind works". Harvard University Gazette..
  6. Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection. Oxford University Press. 2010.
  7. 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.
  8. Drake Baer (9 March 2017). "What's It Like to Be an Octopus?". New York Magazine. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  9. Carl Safina (27 December 2016). "Thinking in the Deep: Inside the Mind of an Octopus". New York Times. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  10. Philip Hoare (15 March 2017). "Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith review – the octopus as intelligent alien". Guardian. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  11. Olivia Judson. "What the Octopus Knows". The Atlantic. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
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