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moonlune wrote

there aren't any texts about what you're talking about because you're wrong: plants aren't sentient. And even if they were (they aren't), you couldn't compare plant "sentience" to animal sentience.

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existential1 wrote

The literal definition is: 1: responsive to or conscious of sense impressions https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sentient

You're doing exactly what I accuse most people of doing with things they eat. You even tacitly concede that it can't be proven that they aren't. Yet you then proceed to argue that they aren't because you can't prove it. That's an assumption. The way in which this

And even if they were (they aren't), you couldn't compare plant "sentience" to animal sentience.

sentence proves my exact point about the farcicity of proclaiming facts around other being's states by use of anthropocentric reasoning with anthropocentric limits of perception without acknowledging them as actual constraints worth accepting with humility. But go on about how "we" can't compare one to the other, I'm interested to read your case.

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moonlune wrote (edited )

actually they don't have a nervous system so they aren't.

plants reacting to physical stimuli isn't sentience.

You may believe they are, on a spiritual plane or whatever, but I personally don't believe in that so that's why I put it in quotes.

Discussions around veganism don't need any more pseudoscience.

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existential1 wrote (edited )

but I personally don't believe in that so that's why I put it in quotes

I'm glad you realize this is a belief thing for you. In fact, any scientific examination of sentience will quickly find it is a term that suffers more than most from Godel's incompleteness theorem. By attempting to define what is sentient and what is not you rather quickly run into contradictions. That is another reason why I spoke about the lack of humility in most people about the limits of anthropocentric perception.

Here's a quick existence-proof like supposition that you will have to defend (in my opinion it is an unreasonable thing to defend) in order to hold to your currently stated position...Since you seem to be appealing to science, then you no-doubt know that there are billions of star systems in the known universe. And you no-doubt know that there are many planets we are finding to possibly host life like our own planet. And because you just stated plants can't be sentient because they don't have a nervous system, you would no-doubt then posit that no form of life anywhere in the universe could be sentient without a nervous system. Personally, I find this conclusion to be unreasonable and a position that only makes sense if you believe we have an understanding of sentience in-general that maps well to anything other than infinitesimally small slice of the observable universe we see and have been able to comprehend thus-far.

In fact, cognitive scientists still aren't near having a universally agreed-upon idea of what consciousness even is, let alone sentience. Here's some evidence for that:

A challenge for an objective science of consciousness is to dissect an essentially subjective phenomenon. As investigators cannot experience another subject’s conscious states, they rely on the subject’s observable behavior to track consciousness...

Scientists primarily study phenomenal consciousness through subjective reports. We can treat reports in neuroscience as conceptual in that they express how the subject recognizes things to be, whether regarding what they perceive (perceptual or observational reports, as in psychophysics) or regarding what mental states they are in (introspective reports)....

from: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consciousness-neuroscience/#Futu

So even folks who study consciousness and have humans to report effects need people to report what they're experiencing. It's a science that is nearly completely contingent on a form of communication that we simply do not have with anything except humans. And that is why in animal cognition and other things, studies are conducted and inference is used. Nothing can be found in any way except inference because we simply cannot know unless we can communicate with the subject in this particular area of science. Because we cannot communicate to the same level, we cannot be certain of findings. We can say findings match assumptions, but what are the assumptions? Anyway, I actually love science...that's why I moderate the Math forum here. But I do not subscribe to uncritical examination of science. And I'm sorry, but the fields of science that deal with consciousness have a lot of issues that are related to poor definitions and inference errors. And that's hard science, not "psuedoscience" as you feel the rest of what I've said is.

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moonlune wrote (edited )

There are other tools than simply asking a subject if they're sentient.

I have no idea about non-measurable exobiology thought-experiment. Or even the sentience of AIs and robots, or fringe medical cases. I'm not an expert. I do however know the tree in my garden and the carrots in my plate aren't sentient. (However, that doesn't mean they're not important to me!)

We can't ask rocks if they are sentient, and it's pretty clear they aren't... Would you argue that there's a possibility that they're sentient and unable to communicate with us? What's the difference between rocks and plants?

Are there any studies that come to the conclusion that plant are, in fact, sentient (as defined by the description you yourself use?) edit: nah they're all just clickbait

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existential1 wrote (edited )

Towards the clickbait end, I mean, all of the scientific theories of everything are just clickbait as well. As I hope I've explained well enough to this point, until we have an ability to more effectively communicate with other beings, we'll never be able to affirmatively prove or disprove sentience in non-human form. I believe it's a lot more scientific to keep an open mind about it and say, "We don't and can't know yet so I choose to assume..." the positive or negative. I don't view our current discourse and inquiry into plants in this manner all that different than what science thought about Black people as late as 1900...which is that we lacked some basic features that define humanity. Of course the science was wrong, but if one wanted to appeal to science at the time, they'd have to concede to the contrary.

I say that to say, science is not infallible, and sometimes it outright denies common sense because is itself a human endeavor that cannot escape the faults of its practitioners. If society at large chooses to belittle other forms of life to justify wat it eats, scientists will find logical reasoning to justify it. That is the history of science, unfortunately. It has the promise to be more, but in reality it rarely is. And like I said, I love science...but I also accept the limits of it.

EDIT: Here's a good book that may help if I'm not being clear about the fact that science itself is not infallible and there are many things that we know it cannot answer: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/outer-limits-reason

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[deleted] wrote

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moonlune wrote

What I mean plants are pretty cool and everything but sentient has a precise definition that /u/existential1 linked to, and plants aren't that (at least according to every piece of science I've read up till now).

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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moonlune wrote

Ok so you agree that plants aren't sentient, using the (anthropocentric) definition that everybody uses to describe sentence?

Wouldn't it be better to create a new acid-word to describe this different non-anthropocentric form of sentience instead?

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ruin wrote

No need for an acid word in my opinion. I think you made a fair point.

I try to be careful in using anthropocentrism as it’s becoming (if it’s not already) a margarine word in green spaces. Often speciesist would be better suited.

Regardless, as humans it would seem silly not to use some self referential language to describe our sensory existence, sentience, for instance.

It’s always good to decenter ourselves, but when relating to the world we inhabit we shouldn’t be expected to speak in terms implying we are capable of some transcendental pan-species consciousness.

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