Review of Chauncey Maher's 'Plant Minds'
Meincke (Anne Sophie)
Source: The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science: Review of Books, 2019
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. In his book "Plant Minds", Routledge 2017, Chauncey Maher defends the claim that plants1 have minds on the basis of a plea for abolishing a representationalist theory of the mind.
  2. In my review, I assess this argument.

Author’s Conclusion
  1. Maher does a good job of demonstrating how our views on plant minds depend on conceptual presumptions about minds in general. However, a closer engagement with both enactivism and existing philosophical reflections on plant intelligence2 (‘philosophy of plant neurobiology’) would help to avoid the impression that answering the question of whether plants3 have minds is primarily a conceptual matter.
  2. A truly convincing case for plant minds must do more than re-define the concept of ‘mind’ so as to accommodate plants4. And, on pain of circularity, it must do more than reject representationalism about minds on the assumption that it excludes plants5 from having minds.

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  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2021
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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