Moral Monday: Communicating Peas

Peas. Photo by

You’ve probably heard of the moral arguments against eating meat, but here’s a new one:

When it comes to a plant, it turns out to be not only a what but also a who — an agent in its milieu, with its own intrinsic value or version of the good. Inquiring into justifications for consuming vegetal beings thus reconceived, we reach one of the final frontiers of dietary ethics. – Michael Marder

Marder is commenting on a new study that shows peas communicate with one another using their roots to share biochemical messages that help other plans survive.

 Is it morally permissible to submit to total instrumentalization living beings that, though they do not have a central nervous system, are capable of basic learning and communication? Should their swift response to stress leave us coldly indifferent, while animal suffering provokes intense feelings of pity and compassion? – ibid.

Let us know why in the comments!

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