Thank you for sharing the link with me. In turn, I share a link to Michael Pollan’s article on the intelligent plant:
The documentary that you shared with me was interesting but nothing very new to me. What disturbed me the most was the fact that more than one of the German scientists used the term “higher animals”. This recalls the Nazis’ connection to Social Darwinism, a misinterpretation of Darwin’s theory and a misapplication of Darwin’s idea of “species” to human “races” and “nations”. Darwin certainly did not posit a hierarchy of higher and lower animals, or consider animals to be superior to plants. His was a truly biocentric or ecocentric perspective. Even the interpretation of Darwin’s theory of evolution as being the “survival of the fittest” is attributed to Herbert Spencer rather than to Darwin himself.
Neither the documentary nor Pollan’s article is a meaningful critique, either explicitly or implicitly, of veganism as an ethical and environmentally sound ideal. After all, the main justification for veganism is the refusal to inflict suffering on sentient beings – that is, to minimise suffering – and plants, no matter how “intelligent” they may be (in a very unusual sense of the term “intelligent”), are more than likely not sentient (in any meaningful sense). To quote Jeremy Bentham, as cited in Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation, on the ethical treatment of animals, “The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but Can they suffer?” (2002:7). Besides, language is much more than mere communication, for which a plant’s chemically‐based signalling system barely qualifies.
Nonetheless, I am not indifferent to the flourishing of plants. The vegetative term “flourish” is a key term in virtue ethics. I think all living beings should flourish together (enmeshed) in sustainable ecosystems.
Thanks, once again, for sharing the link with me.