Can Plants Think?


Alva Noë wonders:

Plants reshape themselves — extending, growing, opening, closing, altering leaf size, etc — in direct response to what they need, what they have good reason to shun and to a broad range of local conditions. In developing underground networks of roots, they show sensitivity to obstacles in the ground, and there is evidence that they differentiate their response to the roots of other plants from their response to their own roots.

Granted, by human and animal measures, plants are very slow. But surely it is prejudice to think that only movements and responsiveness that occurs on time scales that seem natural to us count as legitimately expressive of intelligence and mind.

(Photo via Flickr user Ebonezer)