Plant Minds: A Philosophical Defense, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Plant Minds

A Philosophical Defense, 1st Edition

By Chauncey Maher


132 pages | 44 B/W Illus.

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The idea that plants have minds can sound improbable, but some widely respected contemporary scientists and philosophers find it plausible. It turns out to be rather tricky to vindicate the presumption that plants do not have minds, for doing so requires getting clear about what plants can do and what exactly a mind is.

By connecting the most compelling empirical work on plant behavior with philosophical reflection on the concept of minds, Plant Minds aims to help non-experts begin to think clearly about whether plants have minds. Relying on current consensus ideas about minds and plants, Chauncey Maher first presents the best case for thinking that plants do not have minds. Along the way, however, he unearths an idea at the root of that case, the idea that having a mind requires the capacity to represent the world. In the last chapter, he defends a relatively new and insightful theory of mind that rejects that assumption, making room for the possibility that plants do have minds, primarily because they are alive.


"Maher is an admirably clear and engaging writer …the chapters are just the right length, the text is beautifully illustrated, and the overviews of plant physiology and biochemistry are fascinating. In short: Plant Minds is a lovely and accessible text for the uninitiated."Bob Fischer in Metapsychology

"Chauncey Maher's book provides a compact primer on the growing scientific appreciation for the range and sophistication of plant behavior … His enthusiasm for the marvels of plant physiology and the complexity of their responses to environmental stimuli is conveyed in a conversational tone."Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Table of Contents

1. Do Plants Have Minds?

2. Perceiving

3. Feeling

4. Remembering

5. Acting

6. Mind in Life

About the Author

Chauncey Maher is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Dickinson College, USA. He is the author of The Pittsburgh School of Philosophy (Routledge, 2012).

About the Series

Routledge Focus on Philosophy

Routledge Focus on Philosophy is an exciting and innovative new series, capturing and disseminating some of the best and most exciting new research in philosophy in short book form. Peer reviewed and at a maximum of fifty thousand words shorter than the typical research monograph, Routledge Focus on Philosophy titles are available in both ebook and print on demand format. Tackling big topics in a digestible format the series opens up important philosophical research for a wider audience, and as such is invaluable reading for the scholar, researcher and student seeking to keep their finger on the pulse of the discipline. The series also reflects the growing interdisciplinarity within philosophy and will be of interest to those in related disciplines across the humanities and social sciences.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Mind & Body