"Plant sentience" and veganism

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"Plant sentience" and veganism

Post by psyreporter »

I recently registered as 'plant' on veganforum.org to ask a philosophical question and was quickly banned. I learned that the subject "plant sentience" is one of the most sensitive topics within the vegan community. Plant sentience appears to be seen as one of the main anti-veganism arguments, or at least as an argument that is used by 'anti-vegans' to attack vegans.

Subsequently on the forum philosophicalvegan.com I was promised that no user was ever banned on that forum, and that I would be safe, but in the topic the subject was quickly turned into argumentum ad hominem attempts to discredit my motive to start the topic, and the shared information. The accusations included the suggestion that I was deceiving users by posting as a philosophy professor with the motive of self-promotion, which was disallowed on the forum. The topic ended with the accusation that I was ignoring questions, which from my view, was untrue. My posts then were being edited and information was deleted, which ended the discussion.

https://philosophicalvegan.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=7298

I understand that the question is sensitive for vegans but it may also be important that the question is addressed.

The ban on veganforum.org for asking a honest philosophical question does not appear to be an incident. Academic philosophers are reporting about the occurrence of the issue in which vegans and animal right activists actually become aggressive against people who intend to argue on behalf of plant well being.

Philosopher Michael Marder, a research professor at the University of the Basque Country, mentioned the following response from animal rights activists to his argument that plants are sentient beings.

Philosopher: Plants are sentient beings that should be eaten with respect
His claim that a plant is an “intelligent, social, complex being” (i.e. sentient) has been contested by some biologists, but a stronger reaction has come from animal-rights activists and vegans who fear their cause is undermined by extending a duty of respect to plants.
https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/unth ... -1.1965980

When one wants to protect animal well being, how can one feel the urge to agitate against someone who intends to protect the well being of other types of creatures? How can there be a distinction?

Vegans are seen as a group of humans that have attention for ethics, more so than others. In essence, they fulfill a certain guiding role for humanity as a whole. Therefor, if for some reason attention for the well-being of plants is excluded with vegans and animal rights activists, who will be capable of taking it up for plants?

Protection would need to come from a lower level, e.g. philosophers and people with a generic perspective on ethics / protection of the environment. Lacking an ideological motive, what could make them results-oriented?

When one learns that vegans and animal-rights activists may be ignoring the well being of plants, one wonders: who remains that could potentially protect plants if that would ultimately prove to have been essential?

Quesiton 1: What is the origin of the motive to become a vegan (in general)? Is it primarily emotional or is there a sound theoretical basis?

Philosopher Henry David Thoreau once said the following about the enhancement of human ethical practice in general in relation to eating animals:

"Whatever my own practice may be, I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized."

It appears that he was right. Millennials (Gen Y) have been driving a global shift away from eating animals and Gen Z is accelerating that shift to veganism.

(2018) Millennials Are Driving The Worldwide Shift Away From Meat
A global reduction in meat consumption between 2016 and 2050 could save up to eight million lives per year and $31 trillion in reduced costs from health care and climate change. (National Academy of Sciences).
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelpel ... from-meat/

This may be indicative that there is a sound ethical foundation for reducing violence towards animals.

Question 2: How can there be a distinction between animal life and plant life when it concerns attention for their 'well-being'?
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Re: "Plant sentience" and veganism

Post by Steve3007 »

Being intelligent creatures, I wonder if plants have debates with each other about the ethics of eating sunlight.
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Re: "Plant sentience" and veganism

Post by Steve3007 »

Michael Marder wrote:Eating is not a very ethical activity in and of itself, because, in the process, the eater destroys the independence of whatever is eaten and literally incorporates it into her- or himself.
Eating is not the only way we do that. Breathing destroys the independence of oxygen by forcing it to combine with carbon (stolen from plants, which they stole from CO2) to make CO2. Oxygen is not sentient, but Michael Marder reminds us that sentience is not necessarily the key issue.

Oxygen rights? Sunlight rights? Should we be criticising plants for the barbaric process called photosynthesis? How far could this whole abuse of the concept of ethics be taken, I wonder.
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Re: "Plant sentience" and veganism

Post by Sculptor1 »

In all seriousness I do not think a plant can experience sensation.
It pretty much makes the whole thread an exercise in futility.
As such it is quite suitable for Vegans as it contains nothing of much value, like their "food".
As I look through the thread, the metaphor "Where's the meat?" springs to mind.
Since, in a plant nothing could spring to mind, as they do not have one, the whole thread is for only good for human vegetables.
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Re: "Plant sentience" and veganism

Post by Consul »

If subjective sentience/experience is both a necessary and a sufficient condition for an organism to have moral status, then vegetarians&vegans must reject phytopsychism (the view that plants are subjects of experience/phenomenal consciousness) in order to avoid moral inconsistency. But I think they are on the safe side, because there are no good (empirical or rational) reasons to believe in subjective plant sentience/experience.
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Re: "Plant sentience" and veganism

Post by LuckyR »

arjand wrote: May 18th, 2021, 8:34 am I recently registered as 'plant' on veganforum.org to ask a philosophical question and was quickly banned. I learned that the subject "plant sentience" is one of the most sensitive topics within the vegan community. Plant sentience appears to be seen as one of the main anti-veganism arguments, or at least as an argument that is used by 'anti-vegans' to attack vegans.

Subsequently on the forum philosophicalvegan.com I was promised that no user was ever banned on that forum, and that I would be safe, but in the topic the subject was quickly turned into argumentum ad hominem attempts to discredit my motive to start the topic, and the shared information. The accusations included the suggestion that I was deceiving users by posting as a philosophy professor with the motive of self-promotion, which was disallowed on the forum. The topic ended with the accusation that I was ignoring questions, which from my view, was untrue. My posts then were being edited and information was deleted, which ended the discussion.

https://philosophicalvegan.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=7298

I understand that the question is sensitive for vegans but it may also be important that the question is addressed.

The ban on veganforum.org for asking a honest philosophical question does not appear to be an incident. Academic philosophers are reporting about the occurrence of the issue in which vegans and animal right activists actually become aggressive against people who intend to argue on behalf of plant well being.

Philosopher Michael Marder, a research professor at the University of the Basque Country, mentioned the following response from animal rights activists to his argument that plants are sentient beings.

Philosopher: Plants are sentient beings that should be eaten with respect
His claim that a plant is an “intelligent, social, complex being” (i.e. sentient) has been contested by some biologists, but a stronger reaction has come from animal-rights activists and vegans who fear their cause is undermined by extending a duty of respect to plants.
https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/unth ... -1.1965980

When one wants to protect animal well being, how can one feel the urge to agitate against someone who intends to protect the well being of other types of creatures? How can there be a distinction?

Vegans are seen as a group of humans that have attention for ethics, more so than others. In essence, they fulfill a certain guiding role for humanity as a whole. Therefor, if for some reason attention for the well-being of plants is excluded with vegans and animal rights activists, who will be capable of taking it up for plants?

Protection would need to come from a lower level, e.g. philosophers and people with a generic perspective on ethics / protection of the environment. Lacking an ideological motive, what could make them results-oriented?

When one learns that vegans and animal-rights activists may be ignoring the well being of plants, one wonders: who remains that could potentially protect plants if that would ultimately prove to have been essential?

Quesiton 1: What is the origin of the motive to become a vegan (in general)? Is it primarily emotional or is there a sound theoretical basis?

Philosopher Henry David Thoreau once said the following about the enhancement of human ethical practice in general in relation to eating animals:

"Whatever my own practice may be, I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized."

It appears that he was right. Millennials (Gen Y) have been driving a global shift away from eating animals and Gen Z is accelerating that shift to veganism.

(2018) Millennials Are Driving The Worldwide Shift Away From Meat
A global reduction in meat consumption between 2016 and 2050 could save up to eight million lives per year and $31 trillion in reduced costs from health care and climate change. (National Academy of Sciences).
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelpel ... from-meat/

This may be indicative that there is a sound ethical foundation for reducing violence towards animals.

Question 2: How can there be a distinction between animal life and plant life when it concerns attention for their 'well-being'?
I apologize to you on behalf of the universe that you had to deal with such narrow-mindedness.

There are several well understood issues that explain your responses but were not named in your post.

First, the erroneous idea that being eaten is anything other than normal for all organisms on planet earth.

Second, not acknowledging that a subset of vegetarians and vegans possess an element of smug ethical superiority and like most of that ilk, respond negatively to the idea that they are in fact ordinary.
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Re: "Plant sentience" and veganism

Post by Consul »

Consul wrote: May 18th, 2021, 12:56 pm If subjective sentience/experience is both a necessary and a sufficient condition for an organism to have moral status, then vegetarians&vegans must reject phytopsychism (the view that plants are subjects of experience/phenomenal consciousness) in order to avoid moral inconsistency.
They must also reject mycopsychism (the view that fungi are subjects of experience).
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Re: "Plant sentience" and veganism

Post by Consul »

There, thebestofenergy argues as follows:

"…Sentience is at the base of moral consideration - I hope we can agree on that, since if something isn't sentient, it can't feel or perceive anything. To determine the right or wrong thing to do, one must take into consideration the potential suffering caused, and there isn't any if a being isn't sentient.
Sentience requires quite a complex system, needing a central nervous system to process any information, and have a subjective interpretation.
Plants do not have a central nervous system (brain) to be able to experience subjectively, or to be able to be consciously aware of their surroundings.…"


Source: https://philosophicalvegan.com/viewtopi ... 845#p48845

Okay, but then there's nothing morally wrong with eating brainless (and thus experienceless) animals either.

Examples of brainless animals: https://www.animalwised.com/animals-wit ... -3196.html
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Re: "Plant sentience" and veganism

Post by psyreporter »

Steve3007 wrote: May 18th, 2021, 9:43 am Being intelligent creatures, I wonder if plants have debates with each other about the ethics of eating sunlight.
When one eats, one essentially consumes value. It is similar to philosophy attempting to understand the fundamental nature of reality, or when reading a book.

When one comes to life, one is subjected to value. One cannot do other than consume that what is given outside the scope of what preceded it. Therefor, one (as living creature) is subjected to eat.

When it concerns ethics and morality, one applies intelligence (reason) within the scope of what can be denoted as 'good'. Therefor, when one eats and would want to evaluate whether it is ethical to do so, one is to answer the question "what is good?" and looking at history (e.g. 'all life forms eat' or a generalization) cannot provide an answer to that question, since value (including what 'was') cannot be the origin of value, and thus cannot be the origin of 'good'.

Grizzly bears have been living in a friendly relationship with humans in the wild (Living with wild Grizzlies). Such is possible due to moral consideration, a potential for overcoming the basic disposition of life, the subjectedness to consummation of value from a position of lack of reason. Beyond the subjectedness to consume lays reason, beyond the value of what was. It is both what precedes value, as what lays beyond it, and as such, reason can overcome the darkness that is inherent in barbaric forms of 'eating' and it can be a sign of higher intelligence when the human (in general) would refrain from violence towards animals and would alter its consummation wisely so to prevent harm to animals (more specifically, to allow animals to be happy and to serve life, which reason could demand on behalf of the concept 'vitality of Nature' of which the human is a part, and of which the human intends to be a prosperous part).

With regard the argument that plants eat sunlight as an argument that eating plants (or animals) is just as ethical.

Plants show moral behavior. When their mycelium network is developed, plants instruct fellow plants where to grow to prevent a struggle for sunlight. This is indicative that a certain moral consideration must have taken place beforehand, and perhaps an analogy with the human concept 'debate' can be considered applicable when one views the exact nature of the preceding inter-plant communication.

Trees Talk to Each Other in a Language We Can Learn
Science had always believed that trees competed with each other for carbon, sunlight, water and nutrients. Simard’s groundbreaking work showed that trees are interdependent and cooperative, in fact they are immersed in deep relationships with each other.

Source: https://upliftconnect.com/trees-talk-to ... can-learn/

Plants also transfer food to their neighbors when they experience a shortage. Baby trees receive food so that they can grow to sunlight. A recent study by professor Susanne Simard indicated that plants can recognize their offspring and nurture them.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg ... -of-trees/

If plants can apply moral consideration on behalf of their own kind, why not for their environment, in interaction with animals and even their consummation of sunlight?

What is the purpose of sunlight? Does light have an intention to go beyond what was or might it be that sunlight is tied to the origin of life and in that sense precede what was? Perhaps sunlight has given rise to plants and plants are merely moral servants by consuming it.
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Re: "Plant sentience" and veganism

Post by psyreporter »

LuckyR wrote: May 18th, 2021, 1:15 pm There are several well understood issues that explain your responses but were not named in your post.

First, the erroneous idea that being eaten is anything other than normal for all organisms on planet earth.
Is normal supposed to be 'good'? As shown in my reply to Steve3007, such a view cannot be valid since the origin of 'good' cannot be value (e.g. it cannot be what 'was', which includes a generalization).

A lack of potential for ethical consideration (reason) appears to be the origin of the supposed inclination to voilent eating of animals, and ethically, there can be no justification for acts that originate from a lack of reason. One can hide behind error, but error should not be the intended result.

It may be a sign of higher intelligence when the human shows potential for ethical consideration on behalf of, or empathy for, animals. As such, it can be demanded on behalf of human dignity. A lack of care or ethical consideration can become unjust when the potential for it (in an individual) can be made evident.

The potential for ethical consideration (reason) in an individual can become a requirement or responsibility. As such, the human has a potential to enhance itself ethically and to overcome darkness before it was ever present, with intelligence (reason).

Then it turns to the simple consideration that it can be an argument that the human should choose wisely when they have the capacity to do so. A greater capacity in intelligence and empathy for animals comes with new responsibilities, and as such, the human being naturally evolves culturally into a state of less violence towards animals.

From such a perspective, it is logically that globally, new generations (Gen X and Gen Z) are driving a shift to veganism.
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Re: "Plant sentience" and veganism

Post by psyreporter »

Consul wrote: May 18th, 2021, 1:39 pm
There, thebestofenergy argues as follows:

"…Sentience is at the base of moral consideration - I hope we can agree on that, since if something isn't sentient, it can't feel or perceive anything. To determine the right or wrong thing to do, one must take into consideration the potential suffering caused, and there isn't any if a being isn't sentient.
Sentience requires quite a complex system, needing a central nervous system to process any information, and have a subjective interpretation.
Plants do not have a central nervous system (brain) to be able to experience subjectively, or to be able to be consciously aware of their surroundings.…"


Source: https://philosophicalvegan.com/viewtopi ... 845#p48845
He also mentioned the following:

Plants are as sentient as rocks. It's important to understand the difference between reactions and sentience.
Plants growing towards sunlight is as sentient as baking soda reacting with vinegar. Every organism has certain reactions, but not every organism is sentient and is able to subjectively feel.

A lot of what you seem to be using as a reason to believe that plants are sentient, seems to be 'communication' systems.
Well, phones 'communicate' too, transferring information from one to the other. Would you consider them as sentient?


It would essentially come down to the question whether communication in plants is meaningless (machine like reaction vs sentience).

When one could make a case that plant behavior and communication is to be considered meaningful, then one would be ought to assign plants to posses of a quality that is applicable within the scope of the concept 'sentience'.

You highlighted the same distincting with regard the meaning of plant communication in the topic Do plants deserve a moral status as "animal"?.
arjand wrote: May 2nd, 2021, 7:24 pm
Consul wrote: May 2nd, 2021, 1:41 pm It is highly doubtful that the information in question here is semantic information rather than mere signal-information. A genuine language essentially has a semantic dimension (meaning & reference).
The intended distinctive quality between a signal and semantic information (meaningless vs meaningful) would merely be possible by the idea that plants are automata (machines) and not sentient, which is questioned by this topic, and thus such an idea would not be possible with the assumption of 'common sense' (e.g., that readers would automatically understand why a signal would be different from semantic information).
I do not believe that the claim that communication in plants is meaningless can be considered evident.

Recent discoveries have shown that plants develop cells at the root hairs that function similar to brain neurons in animals. It is also shown that plants respond to stressful events like animals.

Plants signal stress like animals do: with neurotransmitters
https://www.zmescience.com/science/biol ... r-0425634/

NIH.GOV: From Nerve Roots to Plant Roots
Sprouting. Branching. Pruning. Neuroscientists have borrowed heavily from botanists to describe the way that neurons grow, but analogies between the growth of neurons and plants may be more than superficial. A new study from the National Institutes of Health and Harvard Medical School suggests that neurons and plant root cells may grow using a similar mechanism.
https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-re ... paraplegia

Some plants call the enemy of their enemy when they are attacked. Plants also communicate with insects in ultrasound.

Plants Attract Enemy's Enemies To Survive
https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... nemys-ene/

The plant will have to have been aware of the animal to perform such behavior. From my perspective, it is a form of sentience because it involves meaningful interaction between a plant and animal.

It may not be hard evidence for plant sentience but it is certainly indicative.

The fact that the discoveries are recent may be a hint that plant sentience - something that we cannot conceive of with today's knowledge - may be possible.

It would be sufficient to make a case for the plausibility of the foundation of a consideration to argue that plants could be sentient. The emergence of a science field in general named "Plant Neurobiology" is a pretty strong foundation. Plant sentience is not something that can be compared with believing in a pink elephant on the top of Mount Everest.

The philosophy of plant neurobiology: a manifesto
https://link.springer.com/article/10.10 ... 016-1040-1

With regard the interest of humanity. It may be essential that humans will have been capable of discovering plant sentience if it exists, to even consider forging a fruitful, i.e. friendly, relation with alien species, if the goal is to prevent survival to be subject to mere random chance or 'luck'.

If friendship is possible, at quest would be: what would be its purpose and what would it require?
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Re: "Plant sentience" and veganism

Post by LuckyR »

arjand wrote: May 18th, 2021, 6:06 pm
LuckyR wrote: May 18th, 2021, 1:15 pm There are several well understood issues that explain your responses but were not named in your post.

First, the erroneous idea that being eaten is anything other than normal for all organisms on planet earth.
Is normal supposed to be 'good'? As shown in my reply to @Steve3007, such a view cannot be valid since the origin of 'good' cannot be value (e.g. it cannot be what 'was', which includes a generalization).

A lack of potential for ethical consideration (reason) appears to be the origin of the supposed inclination to voilent eating of animals, and ethically, there can be no justification for acts that originate from a lack of reason. One can hide behind error, but error should not be the intended result.

It may be a sign of higher intelligence when the human shows potential for ethical consideration on behalf of, or empathy for, animals. As such, it can be demanded on behalf of human dignity. A lack of care or ethical consideration can become unjust when the potential for it (in an individual) can be made evident.

The potential for ethical consideration (reason) in an individual can become a requirement or responsibility. As such, the human has a potential to enhance itself ethically and to overcome darkness before it was ever present, with intelligence (reason).

Then it turns to the simple consideration that it can be an argument that the human should choose wisely when they have the capacity to do so. A greater capacity in intelligence and empathy for animals comes with new responsibilities, and as such, the human being naturally evolves culturally into a state of less violence towards animals.

From such a perspective, it is logically that globally, new generations (Gen X and Gen Z) are driving a shift to veganism.
"Good" in a Philosophy Forum? Good compared to what? (since good is a relative, not absolute term).

Unfortunately for those who would theorize to the contrary, being eaten is not only normal, it is mandatory. It is not optional

Don't get me wrong, be a vegetarian, be a vegan. Good for you. I am troubled by industrial ranching business practices and I actively don't support it. IMO the worst violence against animals is the industrial ranching and dairy practices I mentioned above. Whether one consumes ethically raised meat and dairy products or is vegan is obviously a dietary difference, but not much of an ethical one.
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Re: "Plant sentience" and veganism

Post by Steve3007 »

arjand wrote:When one eats, one essentially consumes value.
I think it would be more accurate to say that one consumes negentropy. i.e. One takes in a quantity of low entropy chemical energy and gives out an equal quantity of high entropy heat energy and one does work, which also ends up as heat energy. To make an ethical judgement about that process in itself, as does Michael Marder in the line that I quoted from one of your sources, makes no sense to me. A bit like saying the laws of thermodynamics are morally wrong.
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Re: "Plant sentience" and veganism

Post by Steve3007 »

Plants show moral behavior. When their mycelium network is developed, plants instruct fellow plants where to grow to prevent a struggle for sunlight. This is indicative that a certain moral consideration must have taken place beforehand, and perhaps an analogy with the human concept 'debate' can be considered applicable when one views the exact nature of the preceding inter-plant communication.
To me, that makes the same amount of sense as saying that the laws of thermodynamics are morally wrong.

Obviously this could develop into a form of the free will versus determinism discussion by a consideration of where on the spectrum of all life on Earth we place the divisions between moral agents, moral subjects and morally neutral entities. That is: entities that we deem to have moral responsibility, entities that we deem it appropriate for moral agents to have moral consideration for, and entities to which the whole subject or morality does not apply. Conventionally, we tend to place only humans in the first category, some humans (e.g. infants) and some non-human animals in the second category and everything else in the third.
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Re: "Plant sentience" and veganism

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arjand wrote: May 18th, 2021, 8:34 am I recently registered as 'plant' on veganforum.org to ask a philosophical question and was quickly banned. I learned that the subject "plant sentience" is one of the most sensitive topics within the vegan community. Plant sentience appears to be seen as one of the main anti-veganism arguments, or at least as an argument that is used by 'anti-vegans' to attack vegans.

Subsequently on the forum philosophicalvegan.com I was promised that no user was ever banned on that forum, and that I would be safe, but in the topic the subject was quickly turned into argumentum ad hominem attempts to discredit my motive to start the topic, and the shared information. The accusations included the suggestion that I was deceiving users by posting as a philosophy professor with the motive of self-promotion, which was disallowed on the forum. The topic ended with the accusation that I was ignoring questions, which from my view, was untrue. My posts then were being edited and information was deleted, which ended the discussion.

https://philosophicalvegan.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=7298

I understand that the question is sensitive for vegans but it may also be important that the question is addressed.

The ban on veganforum.org for asking a honest philosophical question does not appear to be an incident. Academic philosophers are reporting about the occurrence of the issue in which vegans and animal right activists actually become aggressive against people who intend to argue on behalf of plant well being.

Philosopher Michael Marder, a research professor at the University of the Basque Country, mentioned the following response from animal rights activists to his argument that plants are sentient beings.

Philosopher: Plants are sentient beings that should be eaten with respect
His claim that a plant is an “intelligent, social, complex being” (i.e. sentient) has been contested by some biologists, but a stronger reaction has come from animal-rights activists and vegans who fear their cause is undermined by extending a duty of respect to plants.
https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/unth ... -1.1965980

When one wants to protect animal well being, how can one feel the urge to agitate against someone who intends to protect the well being of other types of creatures? How can there be a distinction?

Vegans are seen as a group of humans that have attention for ethics, more so than others. In essence, they fulfill a certain guiding role for humanity as a whole. Therefor, if for some reason attention for the well-being of plants is excluded with vegans and animal rights activists, who will be capable of taking it up for plants?

Protection would need to come from a lower level, e.g. philosophers and people with a generic perspective on ethics / protection of the environment. Lacking an ideological motive, what could make them results-oriented?

When one learns that vegans and animal-rights activists may be ignoring the well being of plants, one wonders: who remains that could potentially protect plants if that would ultimately prove to have been essential?

Quesiton 1: What is the origin of the motive to become a vegan (in general)? Is it primarily emotional or is there a sound theoretical basis?

Philosopher Henry David Thoreau once said the following about the enhancement of human ethical practice in general in relation to eating animals:

"Whatever my own practice may be, I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized."

It appears that he was right. Millennials (Gen Y) have been driving a global shift away from eating animals and Gen Z is accelerating that shift to veganism.

(2018) Millennials Are Driving The Worldwide Shift Away From Meat
A global reduction in meat consumption between 2016 and 2050 could save up to eight million lives per year and $31 trillion in reduced costs from health care and climate change. (National Academy of Sciences).
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelpel ... from-meat/

This may be indicative that there is a sound ethical foundation for reducing violence towards animals.

Question 2: How can there be a distinction between animal life and plant life when it concerns attention for their 'well-being'?
arjand wrote: May 18th, 2021, 8:34 am I recently registered as 'plant' on veganforum.org to ask a philosophical question and was quickly banned. I learned that the subject "plant sentience" is one of the most sensitive topics within the vegan community. Plant sentience appears to be seen as one of the main anti-veganism arguments, or at least as an argument that is used by 'anti-vegans' to attack vegans.

Subsequently on the forum philosophicalvegan.com I was promised that no user was ever banned on that forum, and that I would be safe, but in the topic the subject was quickly turned into argumentum ad hominem attempts to discredit my motive to start the topic, and the shared information. The accusations included the suggestion that I was deceiving users by posting as a philosophy professor with the motive of self-promotion, which was disallowed on the forum. The topic ended with the accusation that I was ignoring questions, which from my view, was untrue. My posts then were being edited and information was deleted, which ended the discussion.

https://philosophicalvegan.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=7298

I understand that the question is sensitive for vegans but it may also be important that the question is addressed.

The ban on veganforum.org for asking a honest philosophical question does not appear to be an incident. Academic philosophers are reporting about the occurrence of the issue in which vegans and animal right activists actually become aggressive against people who intend to argue on behalf of plant well being.

Philosopher Michael Marder, a research professor at the University of the Basque Country, mentioned the following response from animal rights activists to his argument that plants are sentient beings.

Philosopher: Plants are sentient beings that should be eaten with respect
His claim that a plant is an “intelligent, social, complex being” (i.e. sentient) has been contested by some biologists, but a stronger reaction has come from animal-rights activists and vegans who fear their cause is undermined by extending a duty of respect to plants.
https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/unth ... -1.1965980

When one wants to protect animal well being, how can one feel the urge to agitate against someone who intends to protect the well being of other types of creatures? How can there be a distinction?

Vegans are seen as a group of humans that have attention for ethics, more so than others. In essence, they fulfill a certain guiding role for humanity as a whole. Therefor, if for some reason attention for the well-being of plants is excluded with vegans and animal rights activists, who will be capable of taking it up for plants?

Protection would need to come from a lower level, e.g. philosophers and people with a generic perspective on ethics / protection of the environment. Lacking an ideological motive, what could make them results-oriented?

When one learns that vegans and animal-rights activists may be ignoring the well being of plants, one wonders: who remains that could potentially protect plants if that would ultimately prove to have been essential?

Quesiton 1: What is the origin of the motive to become a vegan (in general)? Is it primarily emotional or is there a sound theoretical basis?

Philosopher Henry David Thoreau once said the following about the enhancement of human ethical practice in general in relation to eating animals:

"Whatever my own practice may be, I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized."

It appears that he was right. Millennials (Gen Y) have been driving a global shift away from eating animals and Gen Z is accelerating that shift to veganism.

(2018) Millennials Are Driving The Worldwide Shift Away From Meat
A global reduction in meat consumption between 2016 and 2050 could save up to eight million lives per year and $31 trillion in reduced costs from health care and climate change. (National Academy of Sciences).
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelpel ... from-meat/

This may be indicative that there is a sound ethical foundation for reducing violence towards animals.

Question 2: How can there be a distinction between animal life and plant life when it concerns attention for their 'well-being'?
This OP is one more great example on why philosophy is useless without science (and the other way around).
First of all Plants are not sentient organisms. They do not function based on emotions so they are not aware of feelings and sensations.
Their interactions are pure chemically and mechanically(resulting to chemical responses).
Coursera has a two part course on Plants (Understanding Plants:What a Plant Knows and Understanding Plants - Part II: Fundamentals of Plant Biology).
Of course our current conclusion on plants is based on our Current Epistemology on their biology, but

Now before I address the rest of your points we need share the same definition on veganism.
So according to the Vegan Society Veganism is: "a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."

So based on our current scientific knowledge the argument on"Plant sentience" is a poisoning the well and a begging the question fallacy. This assumption needs to be demonstrated objectively and empirically before it can be used in an argument.

I do not necessarily agree with "philosophicalvegan.com" practices but if your arguments are based on common fallacies, banning would be one of the way to avoid having a meaningless conversation.

In my opinion, you should provide scientific evidence for plant sentience and you should avoid all "philosophical" assumptions of false authority figures. This is a biological claim and the evidence should originate from the field of Biology. The role of philosophy in this is not to promote subjective opinions but to expand our understanding on available facts.

Lets see your points one by one.
-"I understand that the question is sensitive for vegans but it may also be important that the question is addressed."
-Again the question is not just "sensitive" for a specific group. The question is nonsensical and fallacious based on what we define and know from science about sentience.

-"When one wants to protect animal well being, how can one feel the urge to agitate against someone who intends to protect the well being of other types of creatures? How can there be a distinction? "
-To many problems in that statement of yours.
1st Plants are not creatures, you are introducing a non common usage of this term. Animals and Plants are Organisms but only animals are defined as creatures.
2nd you are avoiding to define the term "well being". For the sake of argument I will assume that by "well being" you are referring to the physical not emotional well being of "those" organisms(plants). If not then you have the burden to prove that plants have emotional states and a specific state can be defined as "well being".
The distinction between animals and plants is based on the fact that animals have a nervous system and a brain that allows them be aware of their environment and emotions while the plants do not. Plants interact chemically and mechanically with their environment without a central process unit processing their feelings or addressing their intentions and needs.

-"Vegans are seen as a group of humans that have attention for ethics, more so than others. In essence, they fulfill a certain guiding role for humanity as a whole. Therefor, if for some reason attention for the well-being of plants is excluded with vegans and animal rights activists, who will be capable of taking it up for plants?"
-So what about the well being of rocks, minerals and crystals. Just because we can put two words together in a phrase (well being of plants) that doesn't make that phrase meaningful. There are important and meaningful aspects of plants that we should be concerned. Mental and emotional suffering is not a "thing" for plants.

-"Protection would need to come from a lower level, e.g. philosophers and people with a generic perspective on ethics / protection of the environment. Lacking an ideological motive, what could make them results-oriented?"
-Veganism is the best way to keep human alive and fed and protect the environment from the huge negative footprints of meat production.
You need to understand that in order to have people advocating in favor of the environment.....they need to be alive and fed.
Plant based diets are the only diets that avoid unnecessary pain and suffering of sentient beings and allow people to ...survive.

-"When one learns that vegans and animal-rights activists may be ignoring the well being of plants, one wonders: who remains that could potentially protect plants if that would ultimately prove to have been essential?"
-You are keep making the same nonsensical statement. You need to define the phrase "well being of plants" and how do you quantify them. i.e. do we have painkillers or psychoactive drugs for plants...like we have on animals? What are you even talking about!

I guess both of your questions have being addressed.
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