The Death of Our Planet's Species: A Challenge to Ecology and Ethics

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Human activities are responsible for nearly all species loss. Any concern expressed tends to be over potentially valuable resources - information for scientists, or compounds that could be used in new medicines - that are lost when a species disappears. This work examines the extinction crisis from both scientific and philosophical perspectives. It argues that such a utilitarian perspective is not only shortsighted but morally bankrupt. After an examination of the state of relevant ecological knowledge, it presents a case for attributing intrinsic value to all of nature, including all species. At the heart of the argument is the concept of morality. According to this analysis, the universal character of morality does not permit us to establish limits of moral considerability. Every act of exclusion from the moral community is an arbitrary act and is not compatible with a moral point of view.