Authors
C. Tyler DesRoches
Arizona State University
Abstract
Ecological economics is an interdisciplinary science that is primarily concerned with developing interventions to achieve sustainable ecological and economic systems. While ecological economists have, over the last few decades, made various empirical, theoretical, and conceptual advancements, there is one concept in particular that remains subject to confusion: critical natural capital. While critical natural capital denotes parts of the environment that are essential for the continued existence of our species, the meaning of terms commonly associated with this concept, such as ‘non-substitutable’ and ‘impossible to substitute,’ require a clearer formulation then they tend to receive. With the help of equations and graphs, this article develops new definite account of critical natural capital that makes explicit what it means for objective environmental conditions to be essential for continued existence. The second main part of this article turns to the question of formally modeling the priority of conserving critical natural capital. While some ecological economists have maintained that, beyond a certain threshold, critical natural capital possesses absolute infinite value, absolute infinite utility models encounter significant problems. This article shows that a relative infinite utility model provides a better way to model the priority of conserving critical natural capital.
Keywords Philosophy of Science  Interdisciplinary Science  Natural Capital  Sustainability  Philosophy of Social Science  Non-standard decision theory
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Reprint years 2019, 2020
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DOI 10.1080/02698595.2020.1788347
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References found in this work BETA

Darwin's Dangerous Idea.Daniel C. Dennett - 1996 - Behavior and Philosophy 24 (2):169-174.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Concept of Sustainability.C. Tyler DesRoches - forthcoming - In Byron Williston (ed.), Environmental Ethics for Canadians. New York, NY, USA: pp. 0-0.
Does Environmental Science Crowd Out Non-Epistemic Values?Kinley Gillette, Stephen Andrew Inkpen & C. Tyler DesRoches - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 87:81-92.

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