Reviews: THE BOOK OF MINDS: How to Understand Ourselves and Other Beings, from Animals to AI to Aliens

The cover of The Book of Minds by Philip Ball“Ball argues that we must look beyond our own brains and delve into the minds of other creatures if we want to truly understand ourselves and comprehend the possibility of alien or machine intelligence.” New Scientist, “Don’t Miss”

“That even plants might have a degree of consciousness is one aspect of mind considered in Philip Ball’s wide-ranging new book… Peering into other putative minds—animal, plant, AI, alien—Ball breaks the narcissistic trap of our sapiocentrism, our default assumption that the world is ours first, and only later should we condescend to find a little space for the rest of creation… Ball deals equally coolly with the possibility of communicating with other minds in the cosmos—having recently learnt to message the universe after billions of years, why would we expect another life form suddenly to respond? Ball is the laureate of curiosity and a one-stop source of wisdom. This book will teach you a lot about minds; but it will also make you marvel at the capacious and sagacious one possessed by its author.” Prospect

“A journey into the concept of the mind, mixing neurology, philosophy, technology, and other disciplines. Although everyone has a mind, few experts agree on its makeup. Ball delivers a fine investigation of the possibilities… Many of his topics are among the hottest in neuroscience today, explored by scores of academics and popularizers such as Oliver Sacks, Antonio Damasio, and Daniel Dennett. Building on their theories and others, Ball makes a useful addition to the literature.” Kirkus Reviews

“With ambition and patience, in The Book of Minds British science writer Philip Ball explores the parameters and functions of actual, virtual, and possible minds. The journey begins with humans and our fellow organisms on Earth (including plants and fungi) and ends with machine-based minds (artificial intelligence) and minds beyond our grasp (extraterrestrials and even God). The Book of Minds addresses everything from intelligence and consciousness to agency and free will…. Ball’s take is wide and balanced, likely to please the demigods of mainstream academe while veiling valiant minority reports in its interstices.” Science

“Comprehensive and far-ranging… This extensive tome will be a must-read for those with a keen interest in psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science, and for those who want to embark on a deep dive into the significance of the mind.” Library Journal

PICADOR (Macmillan), June 2022
University of Chicago Press (2022) Hardcover ISBN 0-226-79587-X

Alternative cover for USA
(USA cover) The Book of Minds by Philip Ball
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