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


Does the possibility of plant sentience pose a problem for ethical veganism? It has not yet been demonstrated that plants are sentient (i.e., that they can feel). Moreover, even if it were demonstrated that plants could feel, it would also have to be demonstrated that they can feel the affectively “valenced” feelings that are ethically significant, such as pain and fear, rather than just neutral sensations such as darker/lighter, or wetter/drier. Finally, if plants could feel valenced feelings, veganism would likely still be the ethical option, on the principle of causing the least harm.

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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

Josh Milburn is a Lecturer in Political Philosophy at Loughborough University. He writes mostly about animal ethics, and is the author of Just Fodder: The Ethics of Feeding Animals (2022, McGill-Queen’s University Press) and Food, Justice, and Animals: Feeding the World Respectfully (2023, Oxford University Press). Website