• Question: Is a Venus fly trap alive and conscious of what its doing?

    Asked by anon-354147 on 30 Mar 2023.
    • Photo: Alison Tidy

      Alison Tidy answered on 30 Mar 2023:

      Venus fly traps are alive but no not conscious of what they are doing like we are. They respond to signals, if they get the signals in the right time frame they will always respond. A + B = C. However we can take signals from our environment and make a conscious decision to do something else. E.g I am hungry and there is food there, so I will have a snack or I will wait till dinner is ready to eat.

    • Photo: Sam Mugford

      Sam Mugford answered on 30 Mar 2023:

      This is a very philosophical question. I don’t think that venus flytraps are conscious, in fact I’m pretty certain their not. However how do we know if something else is conscious? It’s one of the most difficult problems in philosophy.

      I believe that you, and other people are conscious, but that’s really based only on what I can observe of your behavior. There’s no way to know what you’re experiencing inside your mind. You might be a carefully programmed robot designed to mimic human behaviour, but that has no consciousness, and I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. For the same reason it’s impossible for us to truly know if plants are conscious. We do know that they don’t have anything like our complex nervous system and brain that is required for our mind to work, so it’s very difficult to imagine how a plant could possibly be conscious.

      So I’m going to say I’m 99.9% sure a venus flytrap is not conscious.