Samantha Wakil
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
As a discipline distinct from ecology, conservation biology emerged in the 1980s as a rigorous science focused on protecting biodiversity. Two algorithmic breakthroughs in information processing made this possible: place-prioritization algorithms and geographical information systems. They provided defensible, data-driven methods for designing reserves to conserve biodiversity that obviated the need for largely intuitive and highly problematic appeals to ecological theory at the time. But the scientific basis of these achievements and whether they constitute genuine scientific progress has been criticized. We counter by pointing out important inaccuracies about the science and rejecting the apparent theory-first focus. More broadly, the case study reveals significant limitations of the predominant epistemic-semantic conceptions of scientific progress and the considerable merits of pragmatic, practically-oriented accounts.
Keywords scientific progress  Values in science  Conservation biology  Biodiversity  Ecology
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,043
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

A New Functional Approach to Scientific Progress.Yafeng Shan - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (4):739-758.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

What is Biodiversity?James Maclaurin & Kim Sterelny - 2008 - University of Chicago Press.
In Defence of Biodiversity.Joanna Burch-Brown & Alfred Archer - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):969-997.
Save the Planet: Eliminate Biodiversity.Carlos Santana - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (6):761-780.
Conservation Biology.Sahotra Sarkar - 2004 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
A Philosopher Goes Wild. [REVIEW]Anya Plutynski - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 38 (1):289-296.
Values, Advocacy and Conservation Biology.Jay Odenbaugh - 2003 - Environmental Values 12 (1):55 - 69.
Biodiversity, Conservation Biology, and Rational Choice.David Frank - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 45 (1):101-104.


Added to PP index

Total views
13 ( #765,685 of 2,498,570 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #282,166 of 2,498,570 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes