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Against Absolute Goodness$
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Richard Kraut

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199844463

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199844463.001.0001

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(p.136) Chapter 23 Biodiversity
Against Absolute Goodness

Richard Kraut

Oxford University Press

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

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