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Brendan Cline (California State University-Channel Islands)

Brendan Cline,  California State University-Channel Islands, « Designing Species » (online | en ligne)

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Abstract | Résumé

Is there anything about species that makes designing them inherently problematic? Is it wrong to blend or modify them? Is it good to create new ones?

An instrumentalist account of species’ value offers permissive guidance. But how should an intrinsic value theorist approach the ethics of designing species? Is it possible to create intrinsically valuable species? If so, is it always very good to create new species? Or is it perhaps always very wrong to modify existing species?

In this paper, I argue that generic intrinsic value theories struggle to deliver a plausible treatment of these issues, since they tend to veer toward one or another implausible extreme. As a result, the ethics of designing species presents a challenge for accounts that attribute intrinsic value to species. Fortunately, a design-based account of the value of species has the resources to offer plausible, nuanced, context-sensitive guidance on the ethics of designing species. This lends credibility to a design-based framework, and gives intrinsic value theorists reason to prefer a design-based approach.