Sentience in plants a green red herring?

Simona Ginsburg, Eva Jablonka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The attribution of sentience or consciousness to plants is currently a topic of debate among biologists and philosophers. The claim that plants are conscious is based on three arguments: (i) plants, like all living organisms, are sentient (biopsychism); (ii) there is a strong analogy between the phloem transport system of plants and the nervous system of animals; and (iii) plants are the cognitive equals of sentient animals. On the basis of a model of consciousness that spells out criteria for assigning sentience to a living organism and presents a diagnostic evolutionary marker of consciousness, we argue that these arguments are flawed and discuss some of the ethical issues they raise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-33
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Consciousness Studies
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2021

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  • Biopsychism
  • Electrical signalling
  • UAL model


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