Listen free for 30 days

1 credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
The Plus Catalogue—listen all you want to thousands of Audible Originals, podcasts, and audiobooks.
$14.95 a month plus applicable taxes after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Metazoa cover art

Metazoa

Written by: Peter Godfrey-Smith
Narrated by: Mitch Riley,Peter Godfrey-Smith
Try for $0.00

$14.95 a month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy Now for $23.67

Buy Now for $23.67

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Tax where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

This program is read by Peter Godfrey-Smith with Mitch Riley.

The scuba-diving philosopher who wrote Other Minds explores the origins of animal consciousness.

Dip below the ocean’s surface and you are soon confronted by forms of life that could not seem more foreign to our own: sea sponges, soft corals, and serpulid worms, whose rooted bodies, intricate geometry, and flower-like appendages are more reminiscent of plant life or even architecture than anything recognizably animal. Yet these creatures are our cousins. As fellow members of the animal kingdom — the Metazoa— they can teach us much about the evolutionary origins of not only our bodies, but also our minds.

In his acclaimed 2016 book, Other Minds, the philosopher and scuba diver Peter Godfrey-Smith explored the mind of the octopus — the closest thing to an intelligent alien on Earth. In Metazoa, Godfrey-Smith expands his inquiry to animals at large, investigating the evolution of subjective experience with the assistance of far-flung species. As he delves into what it feels like to perceive and interact with the world as other life-forms do, Godfrey-Smith shows that the appearance of the animal body well over half a billion years ago was a profound innovation that set life upon a new path. In accessible, riveting prose, he charts the ways that subsequent evolutionary developments — eyes that track, for example, and bodies that move through and manipulate the environment — shaped the subjective lives of animals. Following the evolutionary paths of a glass sponge, soft coral, banded shrimp, octopus, and fish, then moving onto land and the world of insects, birds, and primates like ourselves, Metazoa gathers their stories together in a way that bridges the gap between mind and matter, addressing one of the most vexing philosophical problems: that of consciousness.

Combining vivid animal encounters with philosophical reflections and the latest news from biology, Metazoa reveals that even in our high-tech, AI-driven times, there is no understanding our minds without understanding nerves, muscles, and active bodies. The story that results is as rich and vibrant as life itself. 

A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux 

©2020 Peter Godfrey-Smith (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

More from the same

What listeners say about Metazoa

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    10
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No reviews are available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for aaron
  • aaron
  • 2021-01-22

Philosophy Meets Biology

As long as you approach this book as a philosophy book instead of a hard-and-fast biology book, you'll enjoy it immensely. The author is witty and insightful, and gives you enough backstory and contrary opinions to appreciate his theories. It helps that he narrates it, because it was obviously written in his own unique voice. I highly recommend this for fans of biological diversity (evolution) and modern philosophy.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anand P Patil
  • Anand P Patil
  • 2020-12-12

Fantastic

I didn't find this book to be a compelling argument in favor of materialism, but it was wonderful if taken as an exploration of how consciousness might work, and of what it's like to be a nonhuman organism, given the premise that materialism is correct.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Wilg Flanders
  • Wilg Flanders
  • 2021-02-28

outstanding

Best book I have read or listened to this year. Although I have been reading related information for decades, this book brought me new facts and a new perspective. I am still processing what that new perspective means for how I view the world and what my moral obligations are to other forms of life.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-02-14

Fascinating book

Fascinating, sometimes heady stuff, but well grounded in the creatures explored - under sea, on ground and above. He really handles well the questions around sensitivity, feeling and consciousness.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Craig
  • Craig
  • 2022-01-06

well written, easy to listen to

peters voice is pleasant, i feel that anyone reading his works would be inadequate. i do appreciate the work being done by this man, and consideration should be given to animal with a gradient or levels of consciousness. however towards the end peter makes a couple assertions in that robots/ ai cannot be made conscious by replicating the patterns of human mind. it is asserted that there's something still missing from them which cannot be simulated, i feel this assertion is unfounded and had no supporting argument, which later on he acknowledges robots may one day become conscious(making that whole segmentkind of useless as it supported nothing else). besides that end piece, this is a great read for anyone interested in ethics and animal rights.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Julia C Land
  • Julia C Land
  • 2021-08-23

where are the pictures?

another audiobook that really needs images. otherwise very interesting material. I have a modern reprint of ernst Haeckels art forms in nature. a nice companion to metazoa.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Peter Golub
  • Peter Golub
  • 2022-11-30

I am a beached Cnidarian. I may desiccate and die.

I am a beached Cnidarian. I may desiccate and die.
But I have a compound eye. I look here and I look there-- plastic, plastic everywhere.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tom
  • Tom
  • 2021-11-29

Fascinating Journey through Philosophy and Biology

As in his book, Other Minds, a wonderful experience watching his mind work and his theories unfurl. More thoughts to follow, but my favorite takeaway is Our Mind is a Garden of things that arise and things that we furnish.

In this amazing book he traces the evolutionary journey of the rise of consciousness from sponges and soft corals through arthropods and cephalopods to Humans. Even more importantly he proposes a theory of the Human Experiential Profile that transcends the mechanical storm of cell to cell communication to encompass all of Felt Experience.

Listening to his narration really captures his fascination with his topic and the incredible detail he brings to his research. Five Stars *****

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tim
  • Tim
  • 2023-10-06

Great

if you like his other work, you should read this. This review required more words!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2023-08-24

Flibberdy Gibbish

Guy watches some animals. Talks about what they do. Makes some a priori assumptions and conclusions. Cites some other folks to make it aound academic. Ultimately makes some hunches about mind and consciousness as he defines those and ofhef terms. Same guy slogs through reading the book to save cost of narrator. Fails as both biology book and philosophy book.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!