Christopher Lean
Western Sydney University
I will entertain and reject three arguments which putatively establish that the individuals produced through de-extinction ought to be the same species as the extinct population. Forms of these arguments have appeared previously in restoration ecology. The first is the weakest, the conceptual argument, that de-extinction will not be de-extinction if it does not re-create an extinct species. This is misguided as de-extinction technology is not unified by its aim to re-create extinct species but in its use of the remnants of extinct populations as a resource. The second is the argument from authenticity; the populations produced by de-extinction technologies will be inauthentic if they are not of the extinct species and, therefore, will not be valuable. I argue authenticity is not required in conservation as the value of authenticity varies between people and cultures, and the novelty of de-extinct species will be equally desirable in many cases. The third argument is from retributive justice; we need the de-extinct population to have the same species identity as we owe a moral debt to the extinct population. I find the case for retributive justice unconvincing and argue that acting as if we have a duty to resurrect extinct species will result in a world with less species. Ultimately all the arguments that connect de-extinction technology to species identity fail, leaving us to consider a more complex calculus for the justification of de-extinction in conservation.
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DOI 10.1007/s10806-020-09839-8
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
An Organizational Account of Biological Functions.Matteo Mossio, Cristian Saborido & Alvaro Moreno - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):813-841.

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Citations of this work BETA

Authenticity and Autonomy in De-Extinction.Christopher Hunter Lean - 2022 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 25 (2):116-120.

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