Date & Time
Sunday, December 5, 2021, 11:15 AM - 12:15 PM
How Plants Grow and Move – Is this Behavior?
Professor Elizabeth Van Volkenburgh Professor Dr. Paco Calvo

The question of whether plants are intelligent, or cognitive has drawn increasing attention over the past decade.  Most scientific studies of plant function, from the molecular and genetic levels to physiology and ecological interactions have not been able to address these questions, in part because methodologies appropriate for plant behavior have not been utilized.  Much is known about how plants grow, reproduce, and adapt.  What is needed is a broader approach for ascertaining plant abilities.

Liz Van Volkenburgh starts this discussion with a brief presentation of how plants grow, and move. This includes three significantly ‘planty’ features: cell structure, electrical signaling, and responses to the environment.

Paco Calvo introduces the philosophical perspective of plant behavior, then begins a conversation with Liz to explore the ways these two approaches to what we know about plants can be harnessed to discover whether and how plants are cognitive.

This dialogue will introduce the listeners to the following talk by Paco Calvo about intentional movements observed in bean tendrils, demonstrating the value of contextualizing physiological findings in a philosophical framework.