Popular science writer Philip Ball explores a range of sciences to map our answers to a huge, philosophically rich question: How do we even begin to think about minds that are not human?
Sciences from zoology to astrobiology, computer science to neuroscience, are seeking to understand minds in their own distinct disciplinary realms. Taking a uniquely broad view of minds and where to find them—including in plants, aliens, and God—Philip Ball pulls the pieces together to explore what sorts of minds we might expect to find in the universe. By identifying and mapping out properties of mind without prioritizing the human, Ball sheds new light on a host of fascinating questions: What moral rights should we afford animals, and can we understand their thoughts? If there are intelligent aliens out there, how could we communicate with them? Should we? Understanding the space of possible minds also reveals ways of making advances in understanding some of the most challenging questions in contemporary science: What is thought? What is consciousness? And what (if anything) is free will?
Informed by conversations with leading researchers, Ball's brilliant survey of current views about the nature and existence of minds is more mind-expanding than we could imagine. In this fascinating panorama of other minds, we come to better know our own.
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About Philip Ball
Philip Ball worked for over twenty years as an editor for Nature, writes regularly in the scientific and popular media, and has authored many books on the interactions of the sciences, the arts, and the wider culture. His most recent books include Patterns in Nature, Invisible, and Serving the Reich. He lives in London.
About James Cameron Stewart
James Cameron Stewart is a veteran actor whose performances include roles in theater, film, and television. He was trained at Hull University and the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. His credits include Outlander, Jericho, Flying Blind, Golden Years, Emmerdale, London’s Burning, Eastenders, Coronation Street, and Holby City.