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Aesthetics at the Intersection of the Species Problem and De-Extinction Technology

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De-extinction technology aims to bring extinct species back into existence, often with the goal of releasing created organisms into natural environments. In this paper, I argue that there are aesthetic reasons to avoid engaging in de-extinction and release projects, even if they pass moral permissibility criteria. The strength of these reasons depends on conclusions regarding species authenticity - a problem that arises at the intersection of de-extinction technology and the 'species problem' in the philosophy of biology. Since species authenticity affects the perceived naturalness of 'natural' environments, and thus the aesthetic judgments thereof, I contend that there will be negative aesthetic consequences of de-extinction efforts that ought to be further explored before such projects move forward.
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Keywords: de-extinction technology; environmental aesthetics; environmental philosophy; philosophy of biology; philosophy of technology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2020

This article was made available online on April 27, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "Aesthetics at the Intersection of the Species Problem and De-Extinction Technology".

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has a Journal Impact Factor (2019) of 2.158. 5 Year Impact Factor: 2.047.
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