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Philosophy and Biodiversity


Part of Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology

Markku Oksanen, Julia Koricheva, Helena Siipi, Yrjö Haila, Juhani Pietarinen, Kim Cuddington, Michael Ruse, Gregory M. Mikkelson, Finn Arler, Keekok Lee, Peter R. Hobson, Jed Bultitude, Dieter Birnbacher, Kate Rawles, Christian Gamborg, Peter Sandøe, Robin Attfield
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  • Date Published: August 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521039147

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About the Authors
  • This important collection focuses on the nature and importance of biodiversity. The concept is clarified and its intrinsic and instrumental value are discussed. Even though the term biodiversity was invented in the 1980s to promote the cause of species conservation, discussions on biological diversity go back to Plato. There are many controversies surrounding biodiversity and a few of them are examined here: What is worthy of protection or restoration and what is the acceptable level of costs? Is it permissible to kill sentient animals to promote native populations? Can species be reintroduced if they have disappeared a long time ago? How should the responsibilities for biodiversity be shared? This book will be of interest to philosophers of science and biologists, but also to anyone interested in conservation and the environment.

    • The topic of biodiversity and ecology is very prevalent at the moment
    • Essays from both US and European scholars
    • The previous collection we published with European editors, The Concept of the Gene in Development and Evolution, is one of the best-selling collections in the series
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This collection is significant. Not only does it contain quite important and thoughtful essays by some of our most important and thoughtful conservation scholars, but the nuances that they adeptly articulate in their discussions of biodiversity are those that all environmental scholars, students, and activists should become familiar with.' Environmental Values

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521039147
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • contains: 14 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures and tables
    List of contributors
    Biodiversity considered philosophically: an introduction Markku Oksanen
    Part I. Using 'Biodiversity':
    1. The phenomenon of biodiversity Julia Koricheva and Helena Siipi
    2. Making the biodiversity crisis tractable: a process perspective Yrjö Haila
    Part II. Understanding Biodiversity:
    3. Plato on diversity and stability in nature Juhani Pietarinen
    4. Biodiversity, Darwin and the fossil record Kim Cuddington and Michael Ruse
    5. Biological diversity, ecological stability and downward causation Gregory M. Mikkelson
    Part III. Valuing Biodiversity:
    6. Jean-Jacques Rousseau: philosopher as botanist Finn Arler
    7. There is biodiversity and biodiversity: implications for environmental philosophy Keekok Lee
    8. Evaluating biodiversity for conservation: a victim of the traditional paradigm Peter R. Hobson and Jed Bultitude
    9. Limits to sustainability in nature conservation Dieter Birnbacher
    Part IV. Protecting Biodiversity:
    10. Biological diversity and conservation policy Kate Rawles
    11. Beavers and biodiversity: the ethics of ecological restoration Christian Gamborg and Peter Sandøe
    12. Differentiated responsibilities Robin Attfield

  • Editors

    Markku Oksanen, University of Kuopio, Finland
    Markku Oksanen is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Kuopio, Finland.

    Juhani Pietarinen, University of Turku, Finland
    Juhani Pietarinen is Professor Emeritus of Practical Philosophy at the University of Turku, Finland.


    Markku Oksanen, Julia Koricheva, Helena Siipi, Yrjö Haila, Juhani Pietarinen, Kim Cuddington, Michael Ruse, Gregory M. Mikkelson, Finn Arler, Keekok Lee, Peter R. Hobson, Jed Bultitude, Dieter Birnbacher, Kate Rawles, Christian Gamborg, Peter Sandøe, Robin Attfield

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