Jennifer Mather, What is in an octopus's mind?


Even if its intelligent behaviors are the product of decentralized control systems, Mather argues that the octopus has an “Umwelt,” and, thus, a mind. I argue that Umwelt does not provide a conceptual basis for understanding the octopus as having a mind. First, Umwelt does not refer only to an organism’s perceptual abilities. Second, in providing evidence for decentralized control systems that underlie intelligent behaviors, Mather makes a case against an octopus Umwelt. Instead, the octopus is more akin to a collection of systems, or Umwelten, than a single system with an Umwelt.

Author Biography

Luis H. Favela, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Central Florida, does research at the intersection of philosophy and mind sciences applying complexity and dynamical systems theory to behavior, cognition, and consciousness in diverse systems at various scales. Website