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Can the study of plant intelligence transform our thinking about human memory, perception, movement, and cognition?
Research on plant intelligence in recent years has transformed not only how we understand plants but also how we understand memory, perception, sentience, movement, cognition, and intelligence. The absence of familiar physical correlates for plant intelligence has opened a space for speculation on the part of scientists, popular writers, artists, and philosophers. Our research focuses on domains of inquiry that research into plant intelligence has drawn together in unexpected ways: neurosciences, environmental sciences, media studies, and computational sciences. Our research group proposes to build on the links being forged across these domains within plant studies to develop a new conceptual framework suited to the contemporary moment, frequently characterized in terms of environmental disaster, wide-scale species extinction, planetary domestication, climate change, and the Anthropocene. To this end, we are working with key texts, scientific models, and media paradigms that operative within “plant studies” in order to reconsider some of the foundational concepts and frameworks for contemporary thinking about the environment and planetary formations. We have chosen to call our intervention “Phytological Critique,” a rubric chosen for its echoes of “critical inquiry” and “ecological inquiry,” for our project centers on plants not simply as objects or entities to be known but as a kind of intelligence or formation of reason that allows us to grapple with the links arising between previously separated domains of knowledge, which in turn force us to reconsider what critique might do at the current juncture.

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