Miguel Segundo-Ortin and Paco Calvo, Plant sentience? Between romanticism and denial: Science


Segundo-Ortin’s (2023) target article invites us to consider the possibility that plants can experience subjectively felt states. We discuss this speculation on the basis of the functional neurobiology of consciousness. We suggest that demonstrating plant sentience would require that we identify not only behaviors analogous to those exhibited by sentient creatures, but also the functional analogues of the mechanisms causing such behaviors. The lack of clear evidence for any kind of integration between self-states, self-movement, environmental states, memory, or affective communication within plants suggests that plant sentience remains an admittedly fascinating, but ultimately merely provocative speculation.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Author Biography

Krzysztof Dołęga, postdoctoral fellow Center for Research in Cognition & Neurosciences, Université libre de Bruxelles is a member of the ERC funded EXPERIENCE research project and works on philosophical and cognitive scientific approaches to consciousness, mental representations, and explanation. Website

Savannah Siekierski, doctoral candidate, Consciousness, Cognition and Computation Group and Laboratory of Neurophysiology and Movement Biomechanics, Université libre de Bruxelles, studies human cognition and consciousness in the context of the brain and body's interactions with the environment, particularly the conscious awareness of action and movement. Website

Axel Cleeremans, F.R.S-FNRS Research Director, Center for Research in Cognition & Neurosciences, Université libre de Bruxelles, and senior fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, is interested in the value of consciousness and in the differences between what we can do with and without awareness. Website