What A Plant Knows

Author: Daniel Chamovitz
Publisher: Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 1429946237
Size: 56.59 MB
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How does a Venus flytrap know when to snap shut? Can it actually feel an insect's tiny, spindly legs? And how do cherry blossoms know when to bloom? Can they actually remember the weather? For centuries we have collectively marveled at plant diversity and form—from Charles Darwin's early fascination with stems to Seymour Krelborn's distorted doting in Little Shop of Horrors. But now, in What a Plant Knows, the renowned biologist Daniel Chamovitz presents an intriguing and scrupulous look at how plants themselves experience the world—from the colors they see to the schedules they keep. Highlighting the latest research in genetics and more, he takes us into the inner lives of plants and draws parallels with the human senses to reveal that we have much more in common with sunflowers and oak trees than we may realize. Chamovitz shows how plants know up from down, how they know when a neighbor has been infested by a group of hungry beetles, and whether they appreciate the Led Zeppelin you've been playing for them or if they're more partial to the melodic riffs of Bach. Covering touch, sound, smell, sight, and even memory, Chamovitz encourages us all to consider whether plants might even be aware of their surroundings. A rare inside look at what life is really like for the grass we walk on, the flowers we sniff, and the trees we climb, What a Plant Knows offers us a greater understanding of science and our place in nature.

Signs In The Dust

Author: Nathan Lyons
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190941278
Size: 33.95 MB
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Modern thought is characterized by a dichotomy of meaningful culture and unmeaning nature. Signs in the Dust uses medieval semiotics to develop a new theory of nature and culture that resists this familiar picture of things. Through readings of Thomas Aquinas, Nicholas of Cusa, and John Poinsot (John of St. Thomas), it offers a semiotic analysis of human culture in both its anthropological breadth as an enterprise of creaturely sign-making, and its theological height as a finite participation in the Trinity, which can be understood as an absolute 'cultural nature'. Signs in the Dust then extends this account of human culture backwards into the natural depth of biological and physical nature. It puts the biosemiotics of its medieval sources, along with Félix Ravaisson's philosophy of habit, into dialogue with the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis that is emerging in contemporary biology, to show how all living things participate in semiosis, so that that a cultural dimension is present through the whole order of nature and the whole of natural history. It also retrieves Aquinas' doctrine of intentions in the medium to show how signification can be attributed in a diminished way to even inanimate nature, with the ontological implication that being as such should be reconceived in semiotic terms. The phenomena of human culture are therefore to be understood not as breaks with a meaningless nature, but instead as heightenings and deepenings of natural movements of meaning that long precede and far exceed us. Against the modern divorce of nature and culture, Signs in the Dust argues that culture is natural and nature is cultural, through and through.

Fellow Creatures

Author: Christine M. Korsgaard
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0191068381
Size: 30.86 MB
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Christine M. Korsgaard presents a compelling new view of humans' moral relationships to the other animals. She defends the claim that we are obligated to treat all sentient beings as what Kant called "ends-in-themselves". Drawing on a theory of the good derived from Aristotle, she offers an explanation of why animals are the sorts of beings for whom things can be good or bad. She then turns to Kant's argument for the value of humanity to show that rationality commits us to claiming the standing of ends-in-ourselves, in two senses. Kant argued that as autonomous beings, we claim to be ends-in-ourselves when we claim the standing to make laws for ourselves and each other. Korsgaard argues that as beings who have a good, we also claim to be ends-in-ourselves when we take the things that are good for us to be good absolutely and so worthy of pursuit. The first claim commits us to joining with other autonomous beings in relations of moral reciprocity. The second claim commits us to treating the good of every sentient creature as something of absolute importance. Korsgaard argues that human beings are not more important than the other animals, that our moral nature does not make us superior to the other animals, and that our unique capacities do not make us better off than the other animals. She criticizes the "marginal cases" argument and advances a new view of moral standing as attaching to the atemporal subjects of lives. She criticizes Kant's own view that our duties to animals are indirect, and offers a non-utilitarian account of the relation between pleasure and the good. She also addresses a number of directly practical questions: whether we have the right to eat animals, experiment on them, make them work for us and fight in our wars, and keep them as pets; and how to understand the wrong that we do when we cause a species to go extinct.

The Philosopher S Plant

Author: Michael Marder
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231538138
Size: 25.57 MB
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Despite their conceptual allergy to vegetal life, philosophers have used germination, growth, blossoming, fruition, reproduction, and decay as illustrations of abstract concepts; mentioned plants in passing as the natural backdrops for dialogues, letters, and other compositions; spun elaborate allegories out of flowers, trees, and even grass; and recommended appropriate medicinal, dietary, and aesthetic approaches to select species of plants. In this book, Michael Marder illuminates the vegetal centerpieces and hidden kernels that have powered theoretical discourse for centuries. Choosing twelve botanical specimens that correspond to twelve significant philosophers, he recasts the development of philosophy through the evolution of human and plant relations. A philosophical history for the postmetaphysical age, The Philosopher's Plant reclaims the organic heritage of human thought. With the help of vegetal images, examples, and metaphors, the book clears a path through philosophy's tangled roots and dense undergrowth, opening up the discipline to all readers.

Conscious

Author: Annaka Harris
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 0062906739
Size: 30.62 MB
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "If you’ve ever wondered how you have the capacity to wonder, some fascinating insights await you in these pages.” --Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals As concise and enlightening as Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, this mind-expanding dive into the mystery of consciousness is an illuminating meditation on the self, free will, and felt experience. What is consciousness? How does it arise? And why does it exist? We take our experience of being in the world for granted. But the very existence of consciousness raises profound questions: Why would any collection of matter in the universe be conscious? How are we able to think about this? And why should we? In this wonderfully accessible book, Annaka Harris guides us through the evolving definitions, philosophies, and scientific findings that probe our limited understanding of consciousness. Where does it reside, and what gives rise to it? Could it be an illusion, or a universal property of all matter? As we try to understand consciousness, we must grapple with how to define it and, in the age of artificial intelligence, who or what might possess it. Conscious offers lively and challenging arguments that alter our ideas about consciousness—allowing us to think freely about it for ourselves, if indeed we can.

A Field Guide To Your Own Back Yard Second Edition

Author: John Hanson Mitchell
Publisher: The Countryman Press
ISBN: 1581576838
Size: 13.32 MB
Format: PDF
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Here is a book to enhance our appreciation of the small citizens of the world and to introduce us to the neighbors we never knew we had, from spotted salamanders to meadow voles, from snowy tree crickets to ambrosia beetles, all living within steps of your door. “If there is grass and a few scraggling trees, there will be wildlife,” suggests John Hanson Mitchell, an internationally recognized naturalist and advocate for tuning your senses to the wonders of your environment. Whether your yard consists of a small stretch of grass or a rambling mix of forest and field, Mitchell will introduce you to the wealth of plants, insects, and animals that share your corner of the world. Learn how the behavior at the birdfeeder mirrors that of the wild woods; get an inside view of the rich ecology of the woodpile; learn why you might want to welcome a skunk into your garden. In short, you’ll get to know the neighbors you never knew you had who make their homes all around yours. With wisdom and humor, this book reacquaints you with the denizens of your own local habitat.

A Field Guide To Bacteria

Author: Betsey Dexter Dyer
Publisher: Comstock Pub Assoc
ISBN: 9780801488542
Size: 78.88 MB
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Written for curious souls of all ages, this title opens readers eyes--and noses and ears--to this hidden world. Useful illustrations accompany Dyer's lively text.

National Geographic Field Guide To Birds

Author: Jonathan K. Alderfer
Publisher: National Geographic Society
ISBN:
Size: 24.30 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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An authoritative series of compact regional bird field guides surveys the diverse bird species in a variety of popular birding hotspots, along with helpful identification tips, detailed descriptions, full-color artwork and photographs, new locator and range maps, information on behavior and nesting, new plumage and species classification data, and other valuable facts about North American birds.

The Streamkeeper S Field Guide

Author: Kate O'Laughlin
Publisher: Adopt-A-Stream Fndtn
ISBN: 9780965210904
Size: 53.75 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Extensively tested through six years of field use, this completely revised, comprehensive guide gives detailed instruction on watershed inventory & stream monitoring methods. You will learn how to measure & monitor the physical, chemical & biological aspects of your local streams & watersheds. Follow instructions on making homemade sampling equipment, then use the illustrated aquatic insect key to determine the biological health of your stream. Includes sections on producing credible & usable data & presenting that data to decision-makers. The easy-to-read, accessible text is a must for people who want to make a difference in their own watersheds. Designed as a comprehensive field manual, it is appropriate for advanced middle school through college students, as well as elementary teachers & community members who are designing watershed education programs. Reproducible data sheets included. Hundreds of fun & educational illustrations & drawings. 312 pages. A valuable companion to the Guide is the Foundation's Streamkeeper video. The 25-minute video starring Bill Nye "The Science Guy" is an upbeat training tool for teachers, community groups & students of all ages who want to learn more about watersheds & how to take effective action to protect them. Order from: Adopt-A-Stream Foundation, 600 128th St. SE, Everett, WA 98208, 206-316-8592.