Plants Have Sensations

Contrary to Aristotle, plants are active and communicate to each other, with sounds among other methods. This certainly does not invalidate all of Aristotle's metaphysics. But it certainly does mean neo-Aristotelians ought to drop the idea that plants lack sensations. Whether anything at all has a "vegetative soul" is an interesting question -- I doubt it -- but if anything does, it ain't plants. And, of course, Aristotle would have thought of mushrooms as a sort of plant, and would have had no idea that the mushroom is only the visible tip of a much vaster organism1, and one that lives in a totally different way to plants. Having made the mistake of tying Aristotelian metaphysics to Aristotelian natural science once before (at the time of the Scientific Revolution), do neo-Aristotelians really want to do that twice?

1 -The largest known fungal organism in the world stretches out over 2200 acres, is 2400 years old, and weighs perhaps 600 tons.


  1. Where is this contingent of neo-Aristotelians defending the idea of a vegetative soul? Sounds like their humours are out of balance.

    1. traumerei, just Google "vegetative soul."

    2. Ah, I thought your post was referring to a current debate you were having e.g. some commenter on Murphy's blog.

      At least the Aristotelian classification of souls sounds reasonble. You'd be surprised how many neo-Aristotelians subscribe to the temperament theory of human personality.


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