Dyason Lecture 2022: Peter Godfrey-Smith

The Evolution of Sentience

Thursday 13 October at 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Friends Room in the Mitchell Building, State Library of New South Wales

1 Shakespeare Place, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia

In the 2022 Dyason Lecture presented by the Australasian Association for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science, Professor Peter Godfrey-Smith considers the evolution of sentience.

How did evolution give rise to feelings, such as pleasure and pain? And which organisms experience the events of their lives in this way? Do insects feel pain? Octopuses? How about plants? Where might we locate the true limits of sentience?

Bookings are essential. Bookings can be made on the State Library event page.

Download the flyer

Professor Peter Godfrey-Smith

Professor Peter Godfrey-Smith is a professor in the School of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Sydney, and he has a PhD in philosophy from UC San Diego. He taught at Stanford University between 1991 and 2003, and then combined a half-time post at the Australian National University and a visiting position at Harvard for a few years. He moved to Harvard full-time and was Professor there from 2006 to 2011, before moving to the CUNY Graduate Center. Since 2015 he has also had a half-time position in the HPS Unit at the University of Sydney.

Peter’s main research interests are in the philosophy of biology and the philosophy of mind. He also works on pragmatism (especially John Dewey), general philosophy of science, and some parts of metaphysics and epistemology. Peter has written six books: Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature, Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection, which won the 2010 Lakatos Award, Philosophy of Biology, Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, and Metazoa: Animal Life and the Both of the Mind. Peter’s photos and videos have appeared in the New York Times, National Geographic, The Guardian, Science, The Boston Globe and elsewhere.

Joint University of Sydney/University of Melbourne/AAHPSSS Seminar

New Zealanad Greenshell Mussells

A jointly sponsored seminar will be held at 5:30 pm Monday 4th April. Mitchell Gibbs from the University of Sydney will be speaking on ‘First Nations Knowledge of Shellfish in Australia’. An abstract and bio are below.

To access this seminar you can use the following Zoom link: https://uni-sydney.zoom.us/j/86947851186


Throughout the world, there has been increasing recognition of the importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), held by First Nations peoples, and its incorporation in shellfish aquaculture and coastal management. In Australia, however, this understanding and incorporation of First Nations TEK of shellfish aquaculture and coastal management is in its infancy. In contrast to Australia, in Aotearoa (New Zealand), there is a rich history of knowledge of shellfish, understanding of cultural practices and the use of stories and ancestral sayings. We reviewed the current state of incorporation of TEK of shellfish in both Australia and Aotearoa. We find that TEK in Aotearoa has improved aquaculture and provides evidence of the value of incorporating TEK in the production of shellfish. We are only now just beginning the journey in Australia to understand and document TEK and practices held by First Nations people. Aotearoa provides valuable lessons on the importance of TEK and guidance for the respectful incorporation of TEK into shellfish aquaculture and coastal management in Australia. If we are to appropriately restore and manage our coasts, then we need to incorporate First Nations Australians knowledge, and respect and protect their connections to traditional sea management.


Mitchell Gibbs is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Geosciences, at the University of Sydney. Mitchell holds a PhD degree in Marine Biology/Biochemistry. Mitchell Gibbs is a Thunghutti man through kinship of the Dunghutti nation.

PSA Public Forum – 2021



PSA 2021 Public Forum

11 November 2021 7:00 - 8:30 pm EST

PSA Public Forum - 2021

The PSA Public Forum invites interested people to join a conversation about what led to scientific predictions of changes in the Chesapeake Bay and how and why they got it so right. What goes into modeling the complex factors that have led to the rise of sea level, the warming water, and extreme weather that impact the wildlife on land and the fish and shellfish in the water?

Free registration via Zoom: bit.ly/psa-pf