is our reward

Publications in Morality by NOMIS researchers

NOMIS Researcher(s)

November 16, 2023

Biological conservation practices and approaches take many forms. Conservation projects do not only differ in their aims and methods, but also concerning their conceptual and normative background assumptions and their underlying motivations and objectives. We draw on philosophical distinctions from the ethics of conservation to explain variances of different positions on conservation projects along six dimensions: (1) conservation ideals, (2) intervention intuitions, (3) the moral considerability of nonhuman beings, (4) environmental values, (5) views on nature and (6) human roles in nature. The result is a map of the moral landscape of biological conservation, on which these six dimensions are layered. This map functions as a heuristic tool to understand conceptual and normative foundations of specific conservation projects, which we will illustrate with four paradigmatic examples: the Pisavaara Strict Nature Reserve, Predator Free New Zealand, the Oostvaardersplassen Nature Reserve and the Great Green Wall Project. With this map as a heuristic tool, we aim to conceptually illuminate disagreement and clarify misunderstandings between representatives of different environmental protection strategies and to show that the same project can be supported (or criticised) on different grounds.

Research field(s)
Biology, Environmental Sciences

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

June 1, 2022

Different arguments in favor of the moral relevance of the concept of biodiversity (e.g., in terms of its intrinsic or instrumental value) face a range of serious difficulties, despite that biodiversity constitutes a central tenet of many environmentalist practices and beliefs. That discrepancy is considerable for the debate on potential moral reasons for protecting biodiversity. This paper adds a new angle by focusing on the potential of the concept of natural otherness-specifically individual and process otherness in nature-for providing additional moral reasons in favor of the protection of biodiversity as variety. Four arguments are presented. Two arguments draw on the individual natural otherness of nonhuman living beings and two additional arguments draw on the process otherness of active nature. The upshot is that each of these arguments-if successful-provides a moral reason in favor of the protection of biodiversity.

Research field(s)
Arts & Humanities, Philosophy & Theology, Applied Ethics