Marco Antonio Pignatone

"Overcoming Plant Blindness through Plant Revolution: A Challenge to Anthropocentrism"

In my speech I will analyze one important challenge to anthropocentric consideration of life, Plant Revolution (Mancuso). In the last years, a multitude of scientific discoveries on vegetal kingdom denied the view of plants as passive organisms totally dependent on their surroundings. Scholars began to talk about an intelligence of plants, different from animal and human one. Hallé showed that plants have an active role in environment, disclosing an intelligent behaviour. Pollan investigated edible plants that adapt to our necessities be cultivated. Chamovitz showed that plants can perceive and respond to stimuli. Trewavas, Gagliano, Karban displaied that plants have intelligence, memory and can communicate through their roots. The provocative expression Plant Neurobiology (Baluska-Mancuso) summerizes this new consideration of plants.

Besides, in last years a multitude of philosophical studies are devoted to plants, from different perspectives, as Biopolitics (Nealon), Ecofeminism (Irigaray, Miller), Deconstruction (Hall, Marder, Coccia), Post-human Thinking (Kohn).

These new studies are useful to overcome a rooted Western habit of thought: Plant Blindness (Wandersee-Schlusser).

Plant Blindess is the attitude of anthropocentric thought to exclude plants from any real consideration except for their utility toward animals and humans. According to this way of thinking, plants are passive beings, which exist only for the sake of animals and humans. In the philosophical field, this attitude is evident in the absence of any interest on plants. One relevant exception is the Greek philosopher Theophrastus.

My aim is to underline the role of Plant Revolution to overcome Plant Blindness and the anthropocentric habit of Western thought.


Marco Antonio Pignatone is a PhD candidate from the University of Palermo. He is working on the botanical writings by Theophrastus in comparison with the Aristotelian biology and the contemporary philosophical botany (Plant Theory, Plant Revolution, Critical Plant Studies), from an ecological point of view. His aim is to investigate the possible role of philosophical botany of Theophrastus in the contemporary scenario.

He wrote the paper “L'indagine aporetica tra Aristotele e Teofrasto” (EPEKEINA- International Journal of Ontology History and Critics, vol. 8, n. 1 (2017)) and the review of “Aristotele. La vita” (EPEKEINA- International Journal of Ontology History and Critics, vol. 9, n. 1 (2019)).