Do plants have minds?

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Do plants have minds?

Rachael Petersen

Quote:In 2006, 30 years after The Secret Life of Plants, a bold group of scientists published an article calling to establish the field of ‘plant neurobiology’ with the goal of ‘understanding how plants perceive their circumstances and respond to environmental input in an integrated fashion’. In other words, how plants might have something like minds.

The burgeoning field of plant science has become a rich playground for profound questions that have beguiled Western philosophy since Plato: namely, what is mind, where does it extend, and how? Who has mind, and how do we know? While scientists increasingly agree that many animals are sentient, doubts remain about our vegetal kin. For many, plants remain a limit case in the types of beings we are willing to concede experience life with the richness humans do, or whose experience we can meaningfully study.

Quote:Fechner would spend his whole life trying to heal the divide between mind and matter, and the commensurate split between philosophy and science – but, first, he had to go mad.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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As well as being insightful, Fechner seems like quite the evocative writer:

Quote:In addition to the souls which run about and cry and feast might there not be souls that bloom in stillness, that quench thirst by slurping dew, that exhale fragrance, that satisfy their highest longings by budding and burgeoning towards light?

Yes.
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Technically. I don't think we can know but I hope not.  I have to eat something with a good conscience!

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2634130/
Quote:The Quest for Cognition in Plant Neurobiology

Quote:Do plants compute? The blunt answer is "yes."  Plants compute insofar as they manipulate representational states. The sine qua non of representation-based competency is off-line adaptive behavior.  Reactive behavior differs from truly cognitive one because it fails to meet the principle of dissociation (the states of a reactive system covary continuously with external states). Off-line competencies thus mark the borderline between reactive, noncognitive, cases of covariation and the cognitive case of intentional systems. Nocturnal reorientation in Lavatera cretica leaves is not to be interpreted in reactive terms, since such a competency is not explained by means of online forms of covariation
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(2024-06-20, 09:52 PM)Brian Wrote: Technically. I don't think we can know but I hope not.  I have to eat something with a good conscience!

I solve this problem by eating the produce of plants rather than plants themselves.

(2024-06-20, 09:52 PM)Brian Wrote: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2634130/

It's a good article but a little too computationalist and maybe even materialist about mind for my liking.
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I tend to pay much less attention to the animal, vegetable or mineral categorisations. There used to be a radio quiz show where people had to identify some mystery item based on an initial description that simply specified that something was one or more or none of these. For example an envelope was described as 'vegetable' since it was made of paper. But after a while it seems that things cannot be categorised so simply into neat boxes, things mix and blend, overlap and become inseparable.

Still, on a personal level I'm closer to more primitive beliefs where even the 'mineral' - such things as water or rock, has its own inherent nature, and should be honoured and respected as much as we might wish to do for animal or vegetable categories. It isn't necessarily how I live all the time, but that is more related to how much I'm in touch with the spiritual aspect of myself.
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(2024-06-20, 10:59 PM)Laird Wrote: It's a good article but a little too computationalist and maybe even materialist about mind for my liking.

TBH, I don't think science will ever know what consciousness is simply because science can only discover its truths through physical observation of some sort.  They can create fill-in words and claim they mean something but its all hypothetical.
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(2024-06-21, 06:00 AM)Typoz Wrote: I tend to pay much less attention to the animal, vegetable or mineral categorisations. There used to be a radio quiz show where people had to identify some mystery item based on an initial description that simply specified that something was one or more or none of these. For example an envelope was described as 'vegetable' since it was made of paper. But after a while it seems that things cannot be categorised so simply into neat boxes, things mix and blend, overlap and become inseparable.

Still, on a personal level I'm closer to more primitive beliefs where even the 'mineral' - such things as water or rock, has its own inherent nature, and should be honoured and respected as much as we might wish to do for animal or vegetable categories. It isn't necessarily how I live all the time, but that is more related to how much I'm in touch with the spiritual aspect of myself.
LUKE 19:39-40
But some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, Teacher, rebuke Your disciples! I tell you, He answered, if they remain silent, the very stones will cry out.


ROMANS 8:19-21
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that  the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

How literally to take this, I don't know but it seems there is more to the whole creation than just physical stuff if Jesus and Paul are to be believed.
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(2024-06-20, 08:46 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Do plants have minds?

Rachael Petersen
This is a cut and dried matter for me.  Plants process information and respond with self-interest.  It's just what level of mystery you like in your definition of mind?  Mind is an abstract term based on being causal of behavior.    Plants participate from the cellular level.  They act as a whole organism, but can be very much part of a social colony.

Whether or not plants fulfills expectations for mental activity -- the simple fact is you can measure the information being transformed and map the processes it affects in the environment.  The methodology is clear.  Plants process information -- and mind in biology is the processing of information.  The Bioinformatics of plants is ongoing science.

Personally, I do like some mystery with my data.  Nature is very deep in our souls.

Quote:Nothing can exceed the quiet splendor and freshness, the fresh scent, the peace, the naturalness all around me,
I feel the sky, the prairies vast,
I feel the ocean and the forest—somehow I feel the globe itself swift-swimming in space,
Never before did I get so close to nature; never before did she come so close to me.  - Walt Whitman
(This post was last modified: 2024-06-24, 09:00 PM by stephenw. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2024-06-24, 08:58 PM)stephenw Wrote: Plants process information -- and mind in biology is the processing of information. 

Computers process information.  Would you say they have a mind?  Do you think they conscious?  How could we possibly tell whether or not an information processing unit is sentient?  Biology doesn't account for the difference between sentient and non-sentient information processing.
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(2024-06-24, 08:58 PM)stephenw Wrote: This is a cut and dried matter for me.  Plants process information and respond with self-interest.  It's just what level of mystery you like in your definition of mind?  Mind is an abstract term based on being causal of behavior.    Plants participate from the cellular level.  They act as a whole organism, but can be very much part of a social colony.

Whether or not plants fulfills expectations for mental activity -- the simple fact is you can measure the information being transformed and map the processes it affects in the environment.  The methodology is clear.  Plants process information -- and mind in biology is the processing of information.  The Bioinformatics of plants is ongoing science.

Personally, I do like some mystery with my data.  Nature is very deep in our souls.

Not so. Mind is the subjective awareness of things, and thoughts about things, not mere processing of information causal of observable behavior. A computer processes a lot of information but is not conscious. Plants certainly process information, but it has yet to be seen whether or not they have even the glimmers of consciousness and mind.
(This post was last modified: 2024-06-24, 11:01 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 1 time in total.)
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