Resurrecting Extinct Species: Ethics and Authenticity

London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan (2017)
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Abstract

This book is about the philosophy of de-extinction. CHAPTER 1 introduces the two main philosophical questions that are raised by the prospect of extinct species being brought back from the dead—namely, the ‘Authenticity Question’ and the ‘Ethical Question’. It distinguishes the many different types and methods of de-extinction. Finally, it examines the aims of wildlife conservation with a view to whether they are compatible with de-extinction, or not. CHAPTER 2 examines three prime candidates for de-extinction—namely, the aurochs, the woolly mammoth, and the passenger pigeon. It is about what these animals were like, why people want to resurrect them, and the methods by which their resurrections could be accomplished. CHAPTER 3 is about the authenticity of de-extinct animals. Critics of de-extinction have offered many reasons for thinking that the products of de-extinction will be inauthentic. The bulk of the chapter is taken up with surveying their arguments. We attempt to show that none are convincing, and end the chapter by offering and defending two arguments in favour of the view that authentic de-extinctions are possible. CHAPTER 4 surveys and critically evaluates all the main arguments both for and against de-extinction. It presents a qualified defence of the claim that conservationists should embrace de-extinction. It ends with a list of do’s and don’ts for conservationist de-extinction projects.

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Douglas Ian Campbell
University of Canterbury

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