In Fabrizio Baldassarri & Andreas Blank (eds.), Vegetative Powers: The Roots of Life in Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Natural Philosophy. Springer. pp. 35-53 (2021)

Amber D. Carpenter
Yale-NUS College
In the Timaeus, plants are granted soul, and specifically the sort of soul capable of perception and desire. But perception, according to the Timaeus, requires the involvement of to phronimon. It seems to follow that plants must be intelligent. I argue that we can neither avoid granting plants sensation in just this sense, nor can we suppose that the phronimon is something devoid of intelligence. Indeed, plants must be related to intelligence, if they are to be both orderly and good – for intelligence is the cause of normativity and teleology. And yet, plants are not intelligent creatures. While plants must have individual souls if they are to be distinct from each other, each having its own orderly life, the intelligence they require for their individual sensations is not similarly individuated, but is rather that of the cosmos itself. Plants’ peculiar partial individuation arises from the fact that their ultimate good is only derivative: unlike animals, it is only by completing the body of the cosmos that a plant’s good a Good Thing.
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DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-69709-9_3
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