Plants as Persons: A Philosophical Botany

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SUNY Press, May 6, 2011 - Philosophy - 245 pages
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Plants are people too? No, but in this work of philosophical botany Matthew Hall challenges readers to reconsider the moral standing of plants, arguing that they are other-than-human persons. Plants constitute the bulk of our visible biomass, underpin all natural ecosystems, and make life on Earth possible. Yet plants are considered passive and insensitive beings rightly placed outside moral consideration. As the human assault on nature continues, more ethical behavior toward plants is needed. Hall surveys Western, Eastern, Pagan, and Indigenous thought as well as modern science for attitudes toward plants, noting the particular resources for plant personhood and those modes of thought which most exclude plants. The most hierarchical systems typically put plants at the bottom, but Hall finds much to support a more positive view of plants. Indeed, some indigenous animisms actually recognize plants as relational, intelligent beings who are the appropriate recipeints of care and respect. New scientific findings encourage this perspective, revealing that plants possess many of the capacities of sentience and mentality traditionally denied them.
 

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Contents

A PHILOSOPHICAL BOTANY
1
1 THE ROOTS OF DISREGARD
17
2 DOGMA AND DOMINATION
37
3 PASSIVE PLANTS IN CHRISTIAN TRADITIONS
55
4 DEALING WITH SENTIENCE AND VIOLENCE IN HINDU JAINAND BUDDHIST TEXTS
73
5 INDIGENOUS ANIMISMSPLANT PERSONS AND RESPECTFUL ACTION
99
6 PAGANS PLANTSAND PERSONHOOD
119
7 BRIDGING THE GULF
137
RECREATING A PLACE FOR FLOURISHING
157
NOTES
171
BIBLIOGRAPHY
209
INDEX
229
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About the author (2011)

Matthew Hall is a research scientist at the Centre for Middle Eastern Plants, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

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