Biodiversity and all that jazz


Abstract
This article considers several of the most famous arguments for our being under a moral obligation to preserve species, and finds them all wanting. The most promising argument for preserving all varieties of species might seem to be an aesthetic one. Unfortunately, the suggestion that the moral basis for the preservation of species should be construed as similar to the moral basis for the preservation of a work of art seems to presume (what are now widely regarded as) erroneous conceptualizations of "species". The article concludes by arguing that more promising approaches to how "species" ought to be conceptualized suggest that the preservation of species should be construed as of far greater aesthetic importance than is suggested by focusing upon the preservation of any single work of art. Hence, if we have a moral obligation to preserve a single artwork, then we have a far greater moral obligation to preserve species than has often been presumed.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  Philosophy of Mind
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ISBN(s) 0031-8205
DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2009.00310.x
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