Richard Kraut

in Against Absolute Goodness

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199844463
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919550 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Moral Theory


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This chapter examines the concept of biodiversity. It argues that the more confident we are that the extinction of a species would or might involve a loss of what is good for someone—especially for humans but also for other living things—the more our confidence should grow that there is reason to prevent that loss. Variety for its own sake should not be our concern. In fact, we would have reason to be glad about the extinction of a species, if we could be confident that the members of that species would otherwise have had painful lives in which nothing good for them could be experienced. (Suppose a mad scientist has created a new form of life in order to torture the members of that new species. It would be best for those new creatures were their species to become extinct.) So we should reject the attempt to show that we need to think in terms of absolute goodness. It is not true that biodiversity is, quite simply, a good thing.

Keywords: biodiversity; species; good; absolute goodness

Chapter.  1374 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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