What’s it like to be an octopus? Peter Godfrey-Smith explores the question in pursuit of a philosophy of mind:
Action by an octopus … would mix elements that are usually distinct in animals like us. When we act, the border between self and environment is usually fairly clear. When we move an arm, the arm can be controlled both in its general path and in the details. You can then watch your arm move, but what you are watching are the consequences of choices, or perhaps of habits that are the remnants of earlier choices. Various other things in the environment are not under your direct control at all, though they can be moved indirectly by manipulating them with your limbs. Uncontrolled movement by an object around you is usually a sign that it is not part of you at all (with partial exceptions for knee-jerk reflexes and the like). If you were an octopus, these distinctions would be blurred. Your arms would move in a way that is a mix of the centrally and peripherally controlled. To some extent you would guide them, and to some extent you would just watch them go.