My name is Laura Ruggles and I am a final year PhD candidate in Philosophy at the University of Adelaide. My research focuses on foundational issues in information processing and cognition in plants. My background throughout my undergraduate training was in psychology, cognitive neuroscience and cognitive science but I decided to shift my research focus to the plant kingdom after some (initially startling!) spare-time reading on plant behaviour a couple of years ago piqued an interest in this project. Since then I have been perpetually fascinated by the diverse and flexible behavioural repertoire and capacities of these anything-but-passive organisms as I have delved deeper into understanding them.
In my research I approach the topic through a naturalistic philosophical paradigm that views philosophy as continuous with the sciences. Elucidating and discussing the biological mechanisms and processes underlying plant behaviour can inform more general theorising about intelligence and cognition which, to date, has tended to be very zoocentric. Understanding the emerging research in this field helps us develop conceptions of and approaches to plants that are more accurate and informed. Historical stereotypes of plants paint them as passive, less ‘alive’ parts of the natural world that form the food source of and backdrop against which the interesting lives and drama of the animal kingdom play out. However, when we look at what current scientific research is telling us about plant life we start to see that plants are purposive, active, dynamic beings with behaviours, strategies and information processing capacities easily as fascinating and flexible as those in the animal kingdom.
I have started this blog to share, through prose, art, short informal philosophical pieces and summaries of scientific research on topics in the field (amongst other things), some small insights into the fascinating lives and behaviours of plants in the hope of spreading a more general enthusiasm for understanding this incredible group of organisms that so endlessly delights me!
On ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Laura_Ruggles
On Academia: http://adelaide.academia.edu/LauraRuggles
Phytophilosophy on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/phytophilosophy/