The Extinction and De-Extinction of Species

Philosophy and Technology 30 (4):427-441 (2017)

Abstract

In this paper, we discuss the following four alternative ways of understanding the outcomes of resurrection biology. Implications of each of the ways are discussed with respect to concepts of species and extinction. Replication: animals created by resurrection biology do not belong to the original species but are copies of it. The view is compatible with finality of extinction as well as with certain biological and ecological species concepts. Re-creation: animals created are members of the original species but, despite their existence, the species remains extinct. The view is incompatible with all species concepts presented. Non-extinction: animals produced belong to the original species which actually never went extinct. The view may be consistent with phenetic and phylogenetic species concepts as well as with finality of extinction. According to literal resurrection, resurrection biology is successful in reversing extinction through the creation of new members of species that once went extinct. This view presupposes non-finality of extinction and it is compatible with phenetic species concepts. It is notable that no species or extinction concept is consistent with all possible views of resurrection biology nor is any view of resurrection biology consistent with all species or extinction concepts. Thus, one’s views regarding species and extinction determine which views one can adopt regarding resurrection biology and vice versa.

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References found in this work

Species.Philip Kitcher - 1984 - Philosophy of Science 51 (2):308-333.
Resurrecting Biological Essentialism.Michael Devitt - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (3):344-382.
Species: A History of the Idea.John S. Wilkins - 2009 - Univ of California Pr.
Individuality and Selection.David L. Hull - 1980 - Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 11:311-332.

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Citations of this work

Environmental Ethics.Andrew Brennan - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Why Wake the Dead? Identity and De-Extinction.Christopher Hunter Lean - 2020 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 33 (3-6):571-589.
De-Extinction and the Conception of Species.Leonard Finkelman - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (5-6):32.

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