A Philosophy of the Plant

Video: Plants have been addressed by philosophers since the beginnings of philosophical history. In present times, new approaches to plants, or more accurately, new vegetal approaches to philosophy, are beginning to emerge in the literature. Spurred by new scientific discoveries of plant capacity and intelligence, thinkers in the Western lineage are revisiting conceptions of plants, which in turn is causing a revisioning of our conceptions of ourselves. How can thinking with plants help us respond to environmental crisis? This talk will review recent literature in plant philosophy and propose a participatory model for relating to our vegetal neighbors.

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Arboreality: A Partial Phenomenology of Trees 2

love the covers of books. The feel of their softness, or smoothness, or rough paper under my fingertips. The way the cover promises all that’s within. The cover of the book I’m holding is a shiny plastic veneer over the proclaimed title, the letters subtly raised, catching my hand as it grazes the surface. The pages of the book also have their own feel under the glide of my hands, soft, yet barely reminiscent of the pulp where they originated.

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Arboreality: A Partial Phenomenology of Trees 1

I enjoy being the type of almost-30- year old woman who climbs trees. On a gently sunny Sunday, I stopped by a beautiful little park overlooking the bay. I sat for a time on the verdant grass where I could best see the buildings and structures that make up the peninsula and the misty marine layer covering the bay. In the distance, Mt. Diablo rose like a mirage on the eastern horizon. Eventually, I decided to climb a tree.

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Reconsidering Interiors as Forests

Worldwide, deforestation has the potential to cause unforeseen changes especially in light of climate change. This has lead me to question where all of the trees we continually cut down go and how they show up in our lives. In the modern West, we are constantly surrounded by trees and wood products in our daily lives, yet we rarely consider them as such. Many wood or wood-based products are concealed by a veneer of plastic or within the folds of fabric. My own mediations on my home as a middle-class American living in a wood-framed condo illustrate the shift in consciousness that I propose around the forests of our homes.

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