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The Evolution of the Sensitive Soul by Eva Jablonka and Simona Ginsburg

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PeterDF
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The Evolution of the Sensitive Soul by Eva Jablonka and Simona Ginsburg

This book discusses the evolutionary origins of consciousness. A subject I needed to understand because of a series of podcasts I'm working on.

It must be one of the most challenging books I've ever read, it seems to assume a considerable level of knowledge of psychology, of which I am somewhat lacking, and it is somewhat stylistically stolid. It suggests that consciousness emerged early in earth's evolutionary history, in the Cambrian period, more than five hundred million years ago. The authors have proposed a method of assessing whether animals have the capacity for what they call minimal animal consciousness by suggesting that for it to have consciousness it must display, a particular pattern of behaviour they call Unlimited Associative Learning which they think of as a transition marker of consciousness.

The book is divided into two parts, If you happen to be interested in the history of the study of consciousness, a plus is that the first part of the book provides this in great detail, and will give you a clear account of where the subject is now. The second part discusses various creatures to assess their level of consciousness. This is where I am now. Wish me luck.
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