Biodiversity, biological uncertainty, and setting conservation priorities

Biology and Philosophy 9 (2):167-195 (1994)
In a world of massive extinctions where not all taxa can be saved, how ought biologists to decide their preservation priorities? When biologists make recommendations regarding conservation, should their analyses be based on scientific criteria, on public or lay criteria, on economic or some other criteria? As a first step in answering this question, we examine the issue of whether biologists ought to try to save the endangered Florida panther, a well known glamour taxon. To evaluate the merits of panther preservation, we examine three important arguments of biologists who are skeptical about the desirability of panther preservation. These arguments are (1) that conservation dollars ought to be spent in more efficient ways than panther preservation; (2) that biologists and conservationists ought to work to preserve species before subspecies; and (3) that biologists and conservationists ought to work to save habitats before species or subspecies. We conclude that, although all three arguments are persuasive, none of them provides convincing grounds for foregoing panther preservation in favor of other, more scientifically significant conservation efforts. Our conclusion is based, in part, on the argument that biologists ought to employ ethical, as well as scientific, rationality in setting conservation priorities and that ethical rationality may provide persuasive grounds for preserving taxa that often are not viewed by biologists as of great importance.
Keywords Biodiversity  conservation  preservation  Florida panther  extinction
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/BF00857931
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,316
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Tom Regan (2009). The Case for Animal Rights. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Noûs. Oxford University Press 425-434.
John Locke (1966). Two Treatises of Government. Philosophical Quarterly 16 (65):365.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

39 ( #122,016 of 1,926,201 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #453,420 of 1,926,201 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.