Monday, December 9, 2013
Marder on Plants
Marder thinks that plants should have the right to flourish and the right to be free of arbitrary violence. The basis for these rights is plant subjectivity or agency. In other words, plants have a basic ability to actively shape their environments. As such, they should have certain rights. Plant intelligence studies seem to undermine Singer's justification of vegetarianism because it shows that just because someone avoids eating animals does not yet mean that one is eating ethically. Plants, as something with their own kind of subjectivity, seem to be just as deserving of rights as animals are. Just because they have rights does not entail that they also have responsibilities. We might have obligations to plants even if plants are not the kind of thing to have their own obligations. It may even turn out that all eating is unethical. If this is the case, then this is not to say that we should stop all eating. Rather, the question of whether we should eat is akin to the question of whether we should exist. Marder says that the easiest rule for respectful eating is to remember that the sources of our food are not just calories for human consumption. There is some sort of 'good' for that plant (or animal) itself.