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Mind in Plants

  • W. Lauder Lindsay

In studying, during the last five years, the phenomena of Mind in the Lower Animals, I have encountered as great difficulty in drawing any definite or definable Psychical Line of Demarcation between Plants and the Lowest Animals as between the Higher Animals and Man. In other words, it appears to me that certain attributes of mind, as it occurs in Man, are common to Plants. The only alterative is the omission from our conceptions and definitions of Mind of certain phenomena common to plants with all classes of animals, including man—those, namely, that do not involve what we distinctively call consciousness. But the difficulties of such an elimination seem to me insuperable.

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As described (e.g.) by—

(1.) Darwin: 44 Insectivorous Plants,” 8vo., illustrated, London, 1875.

(2.) Hooker: Address on the same subject, before the British Association at Belfast, 1874, and reported at length in “Nature” for Sept. 3, 1874.

(3.) Balfour (Dr. Thomas A.G., of Edin.), in the “Transactions of the Botanical Society of Edin.,” for 1875; as well as in the “Garden,” for Aug., 1875, and in “Chambers's Journal,” for Aug., 21, 1875.

For instance (1) the English translation of Sachs; or of (2) Le Maout and Dccaisne; (3) the first vol. of Brown's “Manual;” or (4) the larger Manuals of Professor Balfour.

As demonstrated more especially by Prof. Burdon-Sanderson, for instance, in his “Note on the Electrical Phenomena which accompany irritation of the leaf of Dionæa muscipula” in the “Proceedings of the Royal Society,” No. 147, 1873: which phenomena I had the pleasure of seeing for myself, when he showed them before the British Medical Association at Edinburgh, in August, 1875.

Read to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, in September, 1874, and reported in “Nature,” for June 3, 1875, p. 100.

(1) “Influence of the Cholera Poison on the Lower Animals and on Plants.” Clinical Notes on Cholera: Association Medical Journal, 1854.

(2) “Suggestions for Observations on the Influence of Cholera and other Epidemic Poisons on Plants.” Proceedings of Botanical Society of Edinburgh, 1856.

“Manual of Botany: Anatomical and Physiological,” Edinburgh, 1874, p. 257.

Dr. Thomas A. G. Balfour, in “The Garden,” for August, 1875.

E.g. In the so-called “Compaes-plant,” Vide Brown, “Manual,” p. 562.

Brown, “Manual,” p. 567.

Article “Sensation,” in “Chambers's Ercyclopedia,” 1st ed., 1866.

“Organic Laws,” p. 157.

Address on “The Carnivorous Habits of Plants,” delivered at the British Association Meeting at Belfast, 1874, and reported in “Nature,” September 3, 1874, p. 370.

Just as such terms as sleep, love and soul, are used figuratively by at least the majority of those who employ them at all in regard to Plants.

“On the Doctrine of Human Automatism.”—Contemporary Review, Feb., 1875, p. 410.

§ Ibid, p. 412.

“On the Doctrine of Human Automatism.”—Contemporary Review, Feb., 1875, p. 402.

Ibid, p. 406.

Ibid, p. 407.

§ Ibid, p. 400.

Review in “Nature” (July 15th, 1875, p. 209), by Dr. A. W. Bennett, of Darwin's “Insectivorous Plants.”

“Organic Laws,” p. 161.

“Manual,” p. 585.

According to the recent researches of Professor Dewar, of Cambridge, and Dr. Lawson Tait, of Birmingham.

§ Dr. Thos. A. G. Balfour in the “Garden.”

“On the Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants,” Journal of Linnean Society: Botany, Vol. ix, 1867, p. 118.

Brown, “Manual,” p. 580.

“Climbing Planta,” p. 57.

“Cimbing Plants,” p. 55.

§ Brown, p. 580.

Balfour in “The Garden.”

These experiments are noticed paragraphically in “Nature,” February 26th, 1874, p. 332, and July 15th, 1875, p. 207.

∗∗ Brown, p. 577.

Climbing Plants,” p. 77.

Professor Lawson—“Vegetable Physiology,” p. 78.

“A chapter on some Organic Laws of Personal and Ancestral Memory,” “Journal of Mental Science,” July, 1875, p. 155.

Section on “Vegetable Physiology,” in Chambers's “Information for the People,” 1857 [by Professor Lawson, of Dalhousie College, Halifax, Nova Scotia].

Sir John Lubbook on the “Origin of Civilisation,” chap. v.

Sir John Lubbock on the “Origin of Civilisation,” p. 181.

“Mind and Body: the Theories of their Relation,” by Prof. Bain: one of the International Scientific Series, 2nd ed., London, 1873, p. 155.

Lubbock, p. 181.

§ Laycock, “Organic Laws,” p. 183.

Laycock, “Organic Laws,” p. 184.

Quoted by Laycock, ibid, p. 185.

∗∗ “Mind and Body,” p. 155.

Review of Sir Benjamin Brodie's “Psychological Inquiries,” “Journal of Psychological Medicine,” October, 1854, p. 495.

Ibid., p. 495.

Quotation in “Journal of Psychological Medicine,” Oct., 1854, p. 493.

Ibid., p. 493.

Report in the “Athenaeum,” Sept. 11, 1875, p. 346.

§ “Manual,” p. 558.

“How plants behave,” 1872, p. 850, quoted by Brown, “Manual,” p.585.

Quoted by Brown, “Manual,” p. 558.

Review of “Psychological Inquiries,” p. 481.

Ibid, p. 494.

A vol. of the “Traveller's Library,” 8 vo., London, 1854.

Vol. on “Winter,” 4th ed., 8 vo., Edin., 1841.

“Organic Laws,” p. 157.

Ibid, p. 156.

Mentioned by Bain, “Mind and Body,” p. 186.

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Mind in Plants

  • W. Lauder Lindsay
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