Aristotle, On Plants

LCL 307: 142-143

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815 a

10I. Ἡ ζωὴ ἐν τοῖς ζῴοις καὶ ἐν τοῖς φυτοῖς εὑρέθη. ἀλλ᾿ ἐν μὲν τοῖς ζῴοις φανερὰ καὶ πρόδηλος, ἐν τοῖς φυτοῖς δὲ κεκρυμμένη καὶ οὐκ ἐμφανής. εἰς τὴν ταύτης γοῦν βεβαίωσιν πολλὴν ἀνάγκη ἐστὶ ζήτησιν προηγήσασθαι. συνίσταται γὰρ πότερον 15ἔχουσιν ἢ οὐχὶ τὰ φυτὰ ψυχὴν καὶ δύναμιν ἐπιθυμίας ὀδύνης τε καὶ ἡδονῆς καὶ διακρίσεως. Ἀναξαγόρας μὲν οὖν καὶ Ἐμπεδοκλῆς ἐπιθυμίᾳ ταῦτα κινεῖσθαι λέγουσιν, αἰσθάνεσθαί τε καὶ λυπεῖσθαι καὶ ἥδεσθαι διαβεβαιοῦνται. ὧν ὁ μὲν Ἀναξαγόρας καὶ ζῷα εἶναι καὶ ἥδεσθαι καὶ λυπεῖσθαι 20εἶπε, τῇ τε ἀπορροῇ τῶν φύλλων καὶ τῇ αὐξήσει τοῦτο ἐκλαμβάνων, ὁ δὲ Ἐμπεδοκλῆς γένος ἐν τούτοις κεκραμένον εἶναι ἐδόξασεν. ὡσαύτως καὶ ὁ Πλάτων ἐπιθυμεῖν μόνον αὐτὰ διὰ τὴν σφοδρὰν τῆς θρεπτικῆς δυνάμεως ἀνάγκην ἔφησεν. ὃ ἐὰν συσταίη, ἥδεσθαι ὄντως αὐτὰ καὶ λυπεῖσθαι 25αἰσθάνεσθαί τε σύμφωνον ἔσται. ἂν δὲ συσταίη τοῦτο, τῷ ἐπιθυμεῖν, εἰ καὶ ἀεὶ τῷ ὕπνῳ ἀνακτῶνται καὶ ἐγείρονται ταῖς ἐγρηγόρσεσι, σύμφωνον ἔσται. ὡσαύτως καὶ ἐὰν ζητήσωμεν εἰ πνοὴν καὶ γένος ἐκ συγκράσεως ἔχουσιν ἢ τὸ ἐναντίον, πολλὴν


On Plants I

On Plants

Book I

I. Life is found in animals and plants. But in what is life in plants. animals it is patent and obvious, whereas in plants it is hidden and not clear. To establish its existence requires considerable research. The question at issue is whether plants have or have not a soul, and a capacity for desire, pain, pleasure, and discrimination. Anaxagoras and Empedocles maintain that plants are moved by desire, and they assert emphatically that they can feel and experience both pain and pleasure. Anaxagoras says that plants are animals, and feel both pleasure and pain, concluding this from the fall of their leaves and from their growth; Empedocles supposed that the two classesa were mixed in plants. Similarly Plato averred that plants must know desire, because of the extreme demands of their nutritive capacity. If this were established, it would be in accord with it that they should really know pleasure and pain, and that they should feel. And once this is established, it will be in accord with it that plants should know desire, if they ever have sleep and are aroused by awakening. Similarly again, if we inquire whether they breathe, and whether they are born by a union of the sexes or otherwise we shall

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-plants.1936