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Philosopher: Plants are people too.

Philosopher Michael Marder, author of Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life : A Philosophy of Vegetal Life, so argues. According to Dominic Petman’s review in the Los Angeles Review of Books, it’s got so crazy, one can’t tell if this is a hoax or not:

And yet this soft brushing on the edges of plant-being is enough to inspire Marder to make all kinds of claims about plants that may appear somewhat extravagant to the average reader. If the very phrase “vegetal ethics” or “vegetal democracy” makes you snicker — or if the word “epistemophytology” makes your eyes glaze over — then this is not the book for you. The first review on Amazon, for instance, goes so far as to claim that this book can only be understood as a brilliant satirical hoax, and that Marder himself is the Alan Sokal of the 21st century. And yet, those more attuned to the history and vocabulary of posthumanist thinking will recognize many valuable ideas here, sincerely presented.

Hoax.

Marder’s undeniable strength lies in his deep understanding of the Western philosophical canon. Through virtuoso readings of key figures, especially Aristotle and Hegel, he guides us through philosophy’s most influential (and pernicious) discussions of plants, taking careful note of where the archive leads us down the garden path, and where certain dormant seeds are scattered for our own belated cultivation. Aristotle is rebuked for basically treating plants as “defective animals,” while Hegel is condemned for misreading profligate growth as an example of un-self-conscious “bad infinity.” Plant-Thinking, by contrast, begins by positing the “soul” of plants, understood in a secular or immanent sense pertaining to “the elusive life” of flora: “its precariousness, violability, and, at the same time, its astonishing tenacity, its capacity for survival.” The soul and the plant are intimately connected by virtue of “their [mutual] exclusion from the purview of respectable philosophical discourses in late modernity.”

Hoax.

Then again, when one considers: This wasn’t a hoax.

That’s the trouble. It’s all too crazy in the academic world; there are no hoaxes any more.

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5 Responses to Philosopher: Plants are people too.

  1. Of semi related note:

    10 Pieces of Evidence That Plants Are Smarter (More Complex) Than You Think – 2012
    Excerpt: 1. Plants communicate with insects
    2. Plants have memories
    3. Plants create communication networks
    4. Plants grow differently in response to sound
    5. Plants measure time
    6. Plants know up from down
    7. Plants know who is family and who isn’t
    8. Plants warn each other about approaching enemies
    9. Plants use camouflage
    10. Plants are escape artists
    http://io9.com/5901172/10-piec.....-you-think

    Plants may be able to ‘hear’ others – June 2012
    Excerpt: Plants are known to have many of the senses we do: they can sense changes in light level, “smell” chemicals in the air and “taste” them in the soil (New Scientist, 26 September 1998, p 24). They even have a sense of touch that detects buffeting from strong winds.,,,
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....thers.html

    Higher levels of multiple ecosystem services are found in forests with more tree species
    Excerpt: across a scale of 400,000?km2, we report,,, biomass production was approximately 50% greater with five than with one tree species. In addition, we show positive relationships between tree species richness and proxies for other biodiversity components. Importantly, no single tree species was able to promote all services, and some services were negatively correlated to each other. Management of production forests will therefore benefit from considering multiple tree species to sustain the full range of benefits that the society obtains from forests.
    http://www.nature.com/ncomms/j.....s2328.html

    Biological Arithmetic: Plants Do Sums to Get Through the Night – June 24, 2013
    Excerpt: In research to be published in the open access journal eLife, scientists at the John Innes Centre show that plants make precise adjustments to their rate of starch consumption. These adjustments ensure that the starch store lasts until dawn even if the night comes unexpectedly early or the size of the starch store varies.
    The John Innes Centre scientists show that to adjust their starch consumption so precisely they must be performing a mathematical calculation — arithmetic division.,,,
    During the night, mechanisms inside the leaf measure the size of the starch store and estimate the length of time until dawn. Information about time comes from an internal clock, similar to our own body clock. The size of the starch store is then divided by the length of time until dawn to set the correct rate of starch consumption, so that, by dawn, around 95% of starch is used up.
    “The calculations are precise so that plants prevent starvation but also make the most efficient use of their food,” said Professor Smith.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....093524.htm

    Smarty Plants: Inside the World’s Only ‘Plant-Intelligence’ Lab
    http://www.wired.com/science/d.....telligence

    Timelapse video of Flowers and Leaves – video
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/li.....t#p00lxwrh

  2. Autumn Leaf’s Laughter – (Inspirational Poem) Video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4181846/

    Autumn Leafs Laughter
    Oh please do tell us of your secret
    you majestic autumn leaves,of regal red ,and shimmering golden yellow,
    Brilliantly coloring the landscapes of trees .
    Do you dare pass away in a rush of beauty while you are slowly dying?
    Pay ye no heed to all the other deaths so solemnly attended with tears and crying?
    or Does the essence in you somehow yearn jealously for a glorious life to come?
    And you somehow know that death shouldn’t be sad but fun?
    For I truly wish I could die like you and that I knew the secret of your story, so that my countenance should light up and glow as my soul is delivered to behold God,s glory.
    So please autumn leaves which mock death with such defiant belly laughter,
    Do tell us your secret over death so that we may also properly enter the hereafter.

  3. Thats funny. It is now impossible to tell a hoax.
    Yet after denying mans soul it follow they have no reason to greatly segregate life. The life force in plants is only somewhat less elaborate then animals.
    So its , to evolutionists, just a continuum of life .
    Next thing they will want quotas/affirmative action for enrollment and position in universities.
    the plants probably do better then the present status of folks. As long as they are north american plants.

  4. A view that mind stuff is elemental property of anything that exists, panpsychism, is logically the most coherent position on the subject which was held by the greatest philosophers and scientists throughout history.

    The opening article of this thread along with several equally naive comments ridiculing such perspective is like ridiculing a view that earth is round or that it is rotating around sun when it is “obvious” that earth is flat and that sun is going around the earth.

  5. I emailed my sister a Creation Moments article about plants, and told her that once I was thinking of cutting down my cherry tree because it wasn’t producing anything, and the next year it had a ton of blossoms.
    She wrote that our mother once said she was thinking the same thing about an apple tree and the next year they had a lot of apples. “It read my mind” my mother said.

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