Philosopher: Plants are people too.
|August 7, 2013||Posted by News under News, Philosophy, Plants|
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.
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.”
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.