You didn’t think plants were conscious, did you? Did you really think salad is murder?
Yet telling us that plants are not conscious is the gist of a recently published major paper in Trends in Plant Science. (open access)
Part of the background to the “plants think like people” movement in science, which they oppose, is that we have learned over the years that plants communicate a lot. The other part is refusal to acknowledge that humans are exceptional. Quite simply, the need to see humans as equivalent to animals has now spread to the need to see us as equivalent to plants.
We can expect many more such conundrums. They will result in further declarations in science journals that sound, on the surface, strange. For one thing, some philosophers of physics make the case that if you are conscious, in a material world, your coffee mug must be too. Never mind whether salad is murder, is breaking a coffee cup the irretrievable loss of a fragile consciousness in a wholly material world?
There is an intellectual price to be paid for insisting that humans, bats, and dandelions are all just life forms on a continuum. The intellect is, in fact, that price.Denyse O’Leary, “Scientists: Plants are NOT conscious!” at Mind Matters News
Human consciousness is a Hard Problem. How do we know? Because every six months, we learn about another Big Paper that has explained it.
This will get crazier. Stay tuned.
See also: Yes, plants have nervous systems, too. Not only that but, like mammals, they use glutamate to speed transmission
Can plants be as smart as animals? Seeking to thrive and grow, plants communicate extensively, without a mind or a brain
Further reading in the hard problem of consciousness:
Panpsychism: You are conscious but so is your coffee mug
How can consciousness be a material thing?
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