Do Plants Feel Pain?

Disputatio 12 (56):71-98 (2020)
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Abstract

Many people are attracted to the idea that plants experience phenomenal conscious states like pain, sensory awareness, or emotions like fear. If true, this would have wide-ranging moral implications for human behavior, including land development, farming, vegetarianism, and more. Determining whether plants have minds relies on the work of both empirical disciplines and philosophy. Epistemology should settle the standards for evidence of other minds, and science should inform our judgment about whether any plants meet those standards. We argue that evidence for other minds comes either from testimony, behavior, anatomy/physiology, or phylogeny. However, none of these provide evidence that plants have conscious mental states. Therefore, we conclude that there is no evidence that plants have minds in the sense relevant for morality.

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Citations of this work

Aesthetic Animism.Ryan P. Doran - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (11):3365-3400.
Is a vegetarian diet morally safe?Christopher A. Bobier - forthcoming - Zeitschrift Für Ethik Und Moralphilosophie.
The Indeterminacy of Plant Consciousness.Chauncey Maher - 2021 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 28 (1-2):136-154.

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References found in this work

Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind.Evan Thompson - 2007 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
Consciousness and Experience.William G. Lycan - 1996 - Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 1979 - In Mortal questions. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 435 - 450.

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