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“Rio” oder die moralische Verpflichtung zum Erhalt der natürlichen Vielfalt – Zur Kritik einer UN-Ethik

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There are two basic strategies for justifying a moral obligation to preserve natural variety: (1) to reduce the issue to obligations with respect to humans (“anthropocentric view”), and (2) to assign an “intrinsic value” to non-human nature including species, thus justifying their being objects of moral respect or moral obligation (“new paradigm”).

As to moral obligations one should distinguish (a) the subject, (b) the content, and (c) the justification of such an obligation. As to the subject of the moral obligation to preserve species the new paradigm does not offer insights that differ from those given in the anthropocentric paradigm. As far as the content of the corresponding moral obligation is concerned, the new paradigm has the problem of weighing and assessing conflicting moral norms; in this context it fails particularly to coming to terms with the firm moral intuition that many species in this world did better not exist, because they do much harm to humans (for instance, parasites).

Finally, the attempts of justifying an intrinsic value of species suffer much from introducing a concept of value that is at odds both with the philosophical and with the everyday usage of this concept. It seems that, contrary to the contentions of representatives of the new paradigm, anthropocentric conceptions of justifying a moral obligation to preserve natural variety have remained hitherto both the philosophically most convincing and at the same time the socially most efficient ones.
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Keywords: ANTHROPOCENTRISM; ANTHROPORELATIVITY; BIODIVERSITY; BIOPHILIA; ECOLOGICAL ETHICS; ETHICAL HOLISM; EXTINCTION INTRINSIC VALUE OF SPECIES; NATURALISTIC FALLACY; PRESERVATION OF SPECIES; RIO-CONVENTION; UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY VALUE

Language: German

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 1995

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