Vegetal Otherness

Leading Editor:
Monika Bakke

Vegetal Otherness

Monika Bakke

The authors of this edition propose a novel and inspiring research approach to the subject of plants, which – being a form of life that is different, yet akin to us – is a constant source of nourishment and metaphors, decoration and obsessions. The articles included in this thematic block on plants enter into lively ongoing debates on genetics, feminism, ecology and plant ontology. They are excellent examples of the fact that in Polish philosophical and cultural reflection there was an understanding very early on of the challenges that posthumanism poses to our anthropocentric intellectual habits. Foreign readers will recognize in these Polish reflections a bold willingness to ask ethical and aesthetic questions of great relevance to the modern world that go far beyond the safe, though most likely imagined, limits of what it is to be human.

Table of content/ articles for purchase or download:

Section: Vegetal Otherness

Abstract:

Thought was vegetal from its very beginnings. On the pages of his treatise On the Soul, Aristotle writes about the vegetable soul, which is responsible for the body’s growth and development. Plants were forgotten for many centuries afterwards: it is easy to overlook what merely “vegetates,” in other words, that leads a dull existence. Plants, however, appeared and still appear in metaphors found in the (extra)ordinary life of philosophy. For example, the philosophical concept of “substance” may simply be referred to as “ground”, and philosophical statements are “grounded in” something or “take root”, thinkers should not be “full of beans”, though they often are, so even this expression can be classified as canonical. Finally, philosophy itself, with its numerous branches (ontology, epistemology, or ethics) is “cultivated” until it bears the expected “fruit”. Even the concept of culture, which in our day has become extremely popular, originally meant the cultivation of plants or morals. We should restore the rightful place of plants in philosophy. Indeed, it is worth discussing and writing about thinking as vegetating: starting from the dictatorship of the taproot, through classical systematic classifications, to finally turn towards damp, creeping, rhizomatic neoplasms of thoughts.

Section: Vegetal Otherness

Abstract:

Vegetarian diet can be considered as an indication of modern religiousness or a political answer. The world of plants is connected with a completely different worldview and eating non-meat meals gives us the morally responsible pleasure. The intertwinement of the worlds of plants and people is a common motif in literature.

Section: Vegetal Otherness

Abstract:

The significance of plants for the history of philosophy is considerable. The ambivalent power of plants stems out of their relationship with people and can be noticed only in confrontation with them.

Section: Vegetal Otherness

Abstract:

Derek Jarman’s fondness of plants was very clearly shown in his movies, after he left London to prosper in Prospekt Cottage. Plants were his passion and inspiration, and served as a specific kind of therapy.

Section: Vegetal Otherness

Abstract:

Visual arts are known to have reflected the interconnections between human and plants for a very long time. A significant change took place with the rise of eco-art and introduction of certain living plants into the area of art. This has started the bioecological art.

Section: Vegetal Otherness

Abstract:

The history of biotechnology started ten thousand years ago. At the time when human willingly started to plant seeds, tamed and domesticated a wild animal, and built himself a shelter, he freed himself from a passive dependance on the nature and started controlling it. Only recently, however, have we realised that nature is not only a source of energy, food and biomass, but also a great informational potential.

Section: Vegetal Otherness

Abstract:

In Aristotelian hierarchy plants were nearly completely degraded and objectivized. Empedocles, on the other hand, claimed that plants have souls and are guided by reason. Great writers and philosophers of all centuries have been considering the issue of vegetation and the integrity of the lives of humans and plants.