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Are Plants Conscious? A Discussion on the Intelligence of Plants

November 16, 2021 at 9:00 am - 12:00 pm MST

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Recent studies have shown that plants are capable of learning, forming memories, recognizing their own kin, talking to one another as well as other organisms, and tell time among other things. Your host, Alex Criddle, has more in common with plants than you might initially realize!

If plants can recognize family, communicate, and learn how, then, are they different from us? Indigenous people have recognized and learned from the wisdom of plants for thousands of years. Science seems to just be catching up to them.

Join us in exploring the implications of these findings and questions such as:

  • Are plants conscious or sentient? Is there a difference?
    • What does this imply for existing theories of brain-based consciousness?
    • Do plants have mental states or are they relegated to the philosophical category of “creature consciousness”?
    • What would a plant thinking or cognition consist of? Can plants have perceptions?
  • What implications do these findings have for our ethical theories? (What is left for vegans to eat if plants are conscious creatures?)
  • If plants are conscious, what can we learn from them?
  • Are plants people? Do they have their own ontology?
  • How should this shape environmental policy or the way that we farm and harvest plants?
  • How does this shape our view of ecosystems as living?

Bring your own questions and experiences with plants to share as we ponder on the personhood and intelligence of plants!

Recommended Reading:

The Minds of Plants (Aeon)

Can Plants Talk? (NYT)

Do Plants Have Their Own Form of Consciousness?


Optional Reading (For if you happen to get drawn into the rabbit hole):

A Philosophical Account in Defense of Plant Personhood

The Life of Plants and the Limits of Empathy

Is it Ethical to Eat Plants?

What is Plant Thinking?

Summary of The Hidden Life of Trees



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November 16, 2021
9:00 am - 12:00 pm MST
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