Kant on Plants: Self-Activity, Representations, and the Analogy with LifeSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
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Do plants represent, according to Kant? This question is closely connected to whether Kant held plants are alive, because he explains life in terms of the faculty to act on one’s own representations. He also explains life as having an immaterial principle of self-motion and as a body’s interaction with a supersensible soul. I argue that because of the way plants move themselves, Kant is committed to their being alive, to their having a supersensible ground of their self-activity, and to their having desires (although these are not conscious). This has important ramifications for Kant’s teleology and philosophy of mind.