On the Origin of Species Notions and Their Ethical Limitations

Mark Greene

in The Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780195371963
Published online May 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

On the Origin of Species Notions and Their Ethical Limitations

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This article probes the difference between the concerns we have about using individual animals, such as laboratory animals, and the concerns found in environmental ethics, which focus not on individual beings but on entities such as ecosystems, the wilderness, or even the whole biosphere. A concern that cuts across environmental ethics and ethical issues about animals is whether we have a duty to preserve species, most notably those threatened by human activities. It notes that once defenders of species preservation have realized that their arguments are entirely contingent on whether animal species make contributions to humans, the defenders of a general duty of species preservation will want to dig in and argue that species must have non-derivative value in their own right. It believes that evolutionary biology calls into question the intelligibility of defending the non-derivative value of species.

Keywords: laboratory animals; environmental ethics; species preservation; evolutionary biology

Article.  12591 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy ; Philosophy of Science

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