Environmental Philosophy

Volume 8, Issue 1, Spring 2011

Michael Marder
Pages 83-99

The Elusive Meanings of Vegetative Life

In this paper, I propose an ontological-hermeneutical approach to the question of vegetative life. I argue that, though it is a product of the metaphysical tradition that from Aristotle to Nietzsche ascribes to the life of plants but a single function, the notion of plant-soul is useful for the formulation of a post-metaphysical philosophy of vegetation. Offered as a prolegomenon to such thinking about plants, this paper focuses on the multiplicity of meanings, the obscurity, and the potentialities inherent in their life.