Promoting Biodiversity

Philosophy and Technology 30 (4):413-426 (2017)
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Advances in biotechnology mean that it may soon be possible to recreate previously extinct species. This has led to an emerging debate within bioethics about whether we ought to reintroduce extinct species into our ecosystems. In this paper, we discuss the role that biodiversity could play in this debate. Many believe that biodiversity is a good that should be protected. We argue that if biodiversity is a good, then this suggests it should also be promoted, including by reintroducing previously extinct species. We begin by outlining different ways in which biodiversity could be conceptualized, and then analyze various accounts of its value. We suggest no approach justifies an asymmetry between “protecting” biodiversity by conserving species alive today, and “creating” biodiversity by introducing previously extinct species. This suggests that if we have reasons stemming from biodiversity to protect species from extinction, we will have similar reasons to reintroduce previously extinct species. We close by asking whether arguments from biodiversity speak in favor of introducing some novel species into the ecosystem.



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Julian Savulescu
Oxford University

References found in this work

Unfit for the Future: The Need for Moral Enhancement.Ingmar Persson & Julian Savulescu - 2012 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK. Edited by Julian Savulescu.
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The shallow and the deep, long-range ecology movement. A summary.Arne Naess - 1973 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 16 (1-4):95 – 100.
The Varieties of Intrinsic Value.John O’Neill - 1992 - The Monist 75 (2):119-137.
Two Distinctions in Goodness.Christine Korsgaard - 1997 - In Thomas L. Carson & Paul K. Moser (eds.), Morality and the good life. New York: Oxford University Press.

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