Panpsychism

By: BenOh | December 28, 2016

The oozing yellow organism has no neurons, but it can solve mazes, make decisions, and learn by merging together.


Sometimes, Audrey Dussutour enters her lab in Toulouse to find that one of the creatures within it has escaped. They tend to do so when they’re hungry. One will lift the lid of its container and just crawl out. These creatures aren’t octopuses, which are known for their escape artistry. They’re not rats, mice, flies, or any of the other standard laboratory animals. In fact, they’re not animals at all.


They are slime molds —yellow, oozing, amoeba-like organisms found on decaying logs and other moist areas. They have no brains. They have no neurons. Each consists of just a single, giant cell. And yet, they’re capable of surprisingl...

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By: BenOh | December 11, 2016

This article aims to bridge phenomenology and the study of plant intelligence with the view to enriching both disciplines. Besides considering the world from the perspective of sessile organisms, it would be necessary, in keeping with the phenomenological framework, to rethink

 (1) the meaning of being-sessile and being-in-a-place;

(2) the concepts of sentience and attention;

(3) how aboveground and underground environments appear to plants;

(4) the significance of modular development for our understanding of intelligence; and

(5) the concept of communication within and between plants and plant tissues. What emerges from these discussions is the image of a mind embodied in plant life.

Introduction
Recent advances in plant neurobiology and plan...

Category: Philosophy 

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By: BenOh | December 10, 2016

In complex and ever-changing environments, resources such as food are often scarce and unevenly distributed in space and time. Therefore, utilizing external cues to locate and remember high-quality sources allows more efficient foraging, thus increasing chances for survival.

Associations between environmental cues and food are readily formed because of the tangible benefits they confer. While examples of the key role they play in shaping foraging behaviours are widespread in the animal world, the possibility that plants are also able to acquire learned associations to guide their foraging behaviour has never been demonstrated.

Here we show that this type of learning occurs in the garden pea, Pisum sativum. By using a Y-maze task, we show th...

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By: BenOh | December 10, 2016


By using the same experimental framework normally applied to test learnt behavioral responses in animals, biologists have demonstrated that Mimosa pudica (an American exotic herb) can learn and remember just as well as it would be expected of animals.  

Dr Monica Gagliano from the University of Western Australia and her colleagues designed their experiments as if Mimosa was indeed an animal.  
They trained Mimosa‘s short- and long-term memories under both high and low-light environments by repeatedly dropping water on them using a custom-designed apparatus.

The scientists show how Mimosa plants stopped closing their leaves when they learnt that the repeated disturbance had no real damaging consequence.  The plants were able to acquire the lear...

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By: BenOh | December 04, 2016

Do rocks have minds? A minority of modern philosophers are prepared (but only, perhaps, after some prodding) to admit they believe the answer is ‘yes’ – or at least, ‘sort of’. In the past decade, a number of bona fide academics, such as Australia’s Freya Mathews, the USA’s David Skrbina, and the UK’s Galen Strawson, have emerged as champions of panpsychism: the view that not only rocks, but everything in the universe is – in some sense, and to some extent – conscious.


The Roots of Universal Consciousness

By the historical period, such animism was on the wane – but it wasn’t dead. In the Sixth Century BCE, the earliest recorded Greek philosopher, Thales, famously wrote “All things are full of gods.” Aristotle reported that Thales said this...

Category: Philosophy 

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