Publisher: Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux
How does a Venus flytrap know when to snap shut? Can it actually feel an insect's tiny, spindly legs? And how do cherry blossoms know when to bloom? Can they actually remember the weather? For centuries we have collectively marveled at plant diversity and form—from Charles Darwin's early fascination with stems to Seymour Krelborn's distorted doting in Little Shop of Horrors. But now, in What a Plant Knows, the renowned biologist Daniel Chamovitz presents an intriguing and scrupulous look at how plants themselves experience the world—from the colors they see to the schedules they keep. Highlighting the latest research in genetics and more, he takes us into the inner lives of plants and draws parallels with the human senses to reveal that we have much more in common with sunflowers and oak trees than we may realize. Chamovitz shows how plants know up from down, how they know when a neighbor has been infested by a group of hungry beetles, and whether they appreciate the Led Zeppelin you've been playing for them or if they're more partial to the melodic riffs of Bach. Covering touch, sound, smell, sight, and even memory, Chamovitz encourages us all to consider whether plants might even be aware of their surroundings. A rare inside look at what life is really like for the grass we walk on, the flowers we sniff, and the trees we climb, What a Plant Knows offers us a greater understanding of science and our place in nature.
Christine M. Korsgaard presents a compelling new view of humans' moral relationships to the other animals. She defends the claim that we are obligated to treat all sentient beings as what Kant called "ends-in-themselves". Drawing on a theory of the good derived from Aristotle, she offers an explanation of why animals are the sorts of beings for whom things can be good or bad. She then turns to Kant's argument for the value of humanity to show that rationality commits us to claiming the standing of ends-in-ourselves, in two senses. Kant argued that as autonomous beings, we claim to be ends-in-ourselves when we claim the standing to make laws for ourselves and each other. Korsgaard argues that as beings who have a good, we also claim to be ends-in-ourselves when we take the things that are good for us to be good absolutely and so worthy of pursuit. The first claim commits us to joining with other autonomous beings in relations of moral reciprocity. The second claim commits us to treating the good of every sentient creature as something of absolute importance. Korsgaard argues that human beings are not more important than the other animals, that our moral nature does not make us superior to the other animals, and that our unique capacities do not make us better off than the other animals. She criticizes the "marginal cases" argument and advances a new view of moral standing as attaching to the atemporal subjects of lives. She criticizes Kant's own view that our duties to animals are indirect, and offers a non-utilitarian account of the relation between pleasure and the good. She also addresses a number of directly practical questions: whether we have the right to eat animals, experiment on them, make them work for us and fight in our wars, and keep them as pets; and how to understand the wrong that we do when we cause a species to go extinct.
This critical edition of the poems of Anna Seward (1742-1809) re-establishes one of the most popular and prolific poets of the early Romantic period. Her work influenced Charllotte Smith and Mary Robinson and later both Wordsworth and Coleridge. Her reputation was so high that Sir Walter Scott edited the posthumous edition of her poems in 1810. Unlike Scott's, this edition reproduces the poems as they were first published in periodicals and collections during Seward's lifetime, allowing scholars to experience them as eighteenth century readers did. It also includes mire than 200 poems that were excluded from the Scott edition.
The Indigenous Canela inhabit a vibrant multispecies community of nearly 3,000 people and over 300 types of cultivated and wild plants living together in Maranhão State in the Brazilian Cerrado (savannah) a biome threatened with deforestation and climate change. In the face of these environmental threats, Canela women and men work to maintain riverbank and forest gardens and care for their growing crops who they consider to be, literally, children. This nurturing, loving relationship between people and plants—which offers a thought-provoking model for supporting multispecies survival and well-being throughout the world—is the focus of Plant Kin. Theresa L. Miller shows how kinship develops between Canela people and plants through intimate, multi-sensory, and embodied relationships. Using an approach she calls “sensory ethnobotany,” Miller explores the Canela bio-sociocultural life-world, including Canela landscape aesthetics, ethnobotanical classification, mythical storytelling, historical and modern-day gardening practices, transmission of ecological knowledge through an education of affection for plant kin, shamanic engagements with plant friends and lovers, and myriad other human-nonhuman experiences. This multispecies ethnography reveals the transformations of Canela human-environment and human-plant engagements over the past two centuries and envisions possible futures for this Indigenous multispecies community as they reckon with the rapid environmental and climatic changes facing the Brazilian Cerrado as the Anthropocene epoch unfolds.
Despite their conceptual allergy to vegetal life, philosophers have used germination, growth, blossoming, fruition, reproduction, and decay as illustrations of abstract concepts; mentioned plants in passing as the natural backdrops for dialogues, letters, and other compositions; spun elaborate allegories out of flowers, trees, and even grass; and recommended appropriate medicinal, dietary, and aesthetic approaches to select species of plants. In this book, Michael Marder illuminates the vegetal centerpieces and hidden kernels that have powered theoretical discourse for centuries. Choosing twelve botanical specimens that correspond to twelve significant philosophers, he recasts the development of philosophy through the evolution of human and plant relations. A philosophical history for the postmetaphysical age, The Philosopher's Plant reclaims the organic heritage of human thought. With the help of vegetal images, examples, and metaphors, the book clears a path through philosophy's tangled roots and dense undergrowth, opening up the discipline to all readers.
What is consciousness? What is it like to feel pain, or to see the color red? Do robots and computers really think? For that matter, do plants and amoebas think? If we ever meet intelligent aliens, will we be able to understand what they say to us? Philosophers and scientists are still unable to answer questions like these. Perhaps science fiction can help. In Discognition, Steven Shaviro looks at science fiction novels and stories that explore the extreme possibilities of human and alien sentience.
Most seminaries now require their students to get real world training by way of supervised theological field education. This volume presents the wide array of issues that must be understood in order to integrate theological education and practical ministry, including the importance of theological field education, its purpose and challenges, the need for flexibility in meeting different students' needs, and the resources available to create a meaningful and educational experience.
Thoroughly revised, the Second Edition of A Guide to Field Research is designed to assist undergraduate students and other beginning field researchers in carrying out their first qualitative studies. Its rich examples from classic ethnographies, as well as examples generated by the author herself, help bring alive the abstract principles of field research.
Here is a book to enhance our appreciation of the small citizens of the world and to introduce us to the neighbors we never knew we had, from spotted salamanders to meadow voles, from snowy tree crickets to ambrosia beetles, all living within steps of your door. “If there is grass and a few scraggling trees, there will be wildlife,” suggests John Hanson Mitchell, an internationally recognized naturalist and advocate for tuning your senses to the wonders of your environment. Whether your yard consists of a small stretch of grass or a rambling mix of forest and field, Mitchell will introduce you to the wealth of plants, insects, and animals that share your corner of the world. Learn how the behavior at the birdfeeder mirrors that of the wild woods; get an inside view of the rich ecology of the woodpile; learn why you might want to welcome a skunk into your garden. In short, you’ll get to know the neighbors you never knew you had who make their homes all around yours. With wisdom and humor, this book reacquaints you with the denizens of your own local habitat.