Animal Intelligence: with Peter Godfrey-Smith, Chris Packham and Esther Woolfson

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Chris Packham, Esther Woolfson and Peter Godfrey-Smith ask what non-human minds can teach us about intelligence.

This is an online event hosted by Unique Media. Bookers will be sent a link in advance giving access and will be able to watch at any time for 48 hours after the start time.

Naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham chairs this discussion which busts the myth of human intellectual superiority and delves into the cultural history of our relations with animals.

Chris is joined by Peter Godfrey-Smith, philosopher, expert scuba diver and author of the bestselling Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, and Esther Woolfson, essayist and author of short stories, whose new book Between Light and Storm: How We Live With Other Species traces the historic origins of our attitudes towards animals and examines the complex ethical issues involved.

From the extraordinary cognition of the octopus, whose tentacles brim with neurons and almost think for themselves, to the personality and affection of crows, rooks and magpies, the animal kingdom is full of examples of intelligence that rivals or barely resembles our own. Through intimate and sustained encounters, these experts have glimpsed the alternative intelligences of the non-human world; they come together to reflect on what they’ve found and on what this means for the human mind.

Part of the British Library’s springtime season on environment: The Natural Word.

Chris Packham is an award-winning naturalist and wildlife presenter. His TV career began with the Really Wild Show in 1986 and he has been a staple of wildlife broadcasting ever since. Chris is currently the lead host of BBC 2’s Springwatch, Autumnwatch, and Winterwatch and is also a passionate campaigner on conservation issues. In 2016 his autobiography ‘Fingers in the Sparkle Jar: A Memoir’ was released to critical acclaim reaching number 1 in The Sunday Times Bestseller list.

Peter Godfrey-Smith is professor in the School of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney. He is the author of the bestselling Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness (2016), which has been published in more than 20 languages. Peter’s book Metazoa: Animal Life and the Birth of the Mind (2020) charts the evolutionary rise of consciousness and shows the essential link between the human brain and the natural world.

Esther Woolfson writes about how humans live with other species. Her first book, Corvus: A Life with Birds (2008), describes the creatures with whom she lived through memoir and natural history. Her Wainwright Prize-nominated Field Notes from a Hidden City (2014) examines attitudes towards the neglected creatures that live closest to us in urban spaces. Esther’s latest book, Between Light and Storm: How We Live With Other Species, was published by Granta in 2020.

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Details

Name: Animal Intelligence: with Peter Godfrey-Smith, Chris Packham and Esther Woolfson
Where: British Library St Pancras
When: -
Price: Full Price: £5.00
Member: £5.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
boxoffice@bl.uk