Thursday, March 3, 2011

Calvo on Avoiding Terminological Disputes

The debate on ‘plant intelligence’ is unfortunately plagued with conceptual traps. Intelligence is usually cashed out in animal or anthropocentric terms, in such a way that plants plainly fail to meet the conditions for animal or human‑like intelligence, for obvious but uninteresting reasons. Nevertheless, in the name of scientific progress fight over labels ought to be avoided altogether. Plant neurobiology is not searching for the sort of tissues that implement computations in animals. It goes without saying that plants do not share  “neurons” with animals, or exhibit animal “intelligence”. If the reader wishes to keep those terms for animals exclusively, so be it.  (Garzon, 2007, p. 209)
So, I agree here.  Try to be reasonably clear on your terminology, then get to empirical work.  And, it seems to be common ground here at least that there are differences in the capacities of plants and of animals.  So, what are those?

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