Title

Plant Minds: A Philosophical Defense

Roles

Illustrator: Jim Sias

Document Type

Book

Publication Date

2017

Department

Philosophy

Language

English

Abstract

The idea that plants have minds can sound improbable, but some widely respected contemporary scientists and philosophers find it plausible. It turns out to be rather tricky to vindicate the presumption that plants do not have minds, for doing so requires getting clear about what plants can do and what exactly a mind is.

By connecting the most compelling empirical work on plant behavior with philosophical reflection on the concept of minds, Plant Minds aims to help non-experts begin to think clearly about whether plants have minds. Relying on current consensus ideas about minds and plants, Chauncey Maher first presents the best case for thinking that plants do not have minds. Along the way, however, he unearths an idea at the root of that case, the idea that having a mind requires the capacity to represent the world. In the last chapter, he defends a relatively new and insightful theory of mind that rejects that assumption, making room for the possibility that plants do have minds, primarily because they are alive.

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