The unknownness of biodiversity: Its value and ethical significance for conservation action
Dereniowska, Małgorzata; Meinard, Yves (2021), The unknownness of biodiversity: Its value and ethical significance for conservation action, Biological Conservation, 260, p. 109199. 10.1016/j.biocon.2021.109199
TypeArticle accepté pour publication ou publié
External document linkhttps://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03482418
Journal nameBiological Conservation
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Laboratoire d'analyse et modélisation de systèmes pour l'aide à la décision [LAMSADE]
Abstract (EN)There is a consensus among scientists, conservationists and policy-makers that the diversity of life is a value that should be preserved. However, conservation concerns are usually not reducible to the protection of diversity. This raises the question: What are the specific reasons to protect biodiversity as diversity (if any)? Classical answers to this question refer to the value of diversity as insurance, to its links with stability or other valuable properties of ecosystems. In this article, we introduce an additional way to answer this question on the basis of eco-phenomenological analysis. Eco-phenomenology is a field of philosophy that explores our lived experience of the natural world, and its epistemological and ethical implications. So far, this approach has not been integrated with debates in conservation biology. Our article develops an eco-phenomenological approach to biodiversity inspired by the work of Emmanuel Levinas and his ethics of Alterity. Alterity is a unique characteristic of the other (human or non-human other) that escapes our conceptualisations, and therefore can alter our worldview, values, and attitudes. Among the multiple facets of the notion of Alterity, we focus on unknownness. We show that unknownness is an important ethical source of the value of biological diversity. We illustrate how this approach can be applied to conservation action with a case study discussion of the Trézence Valley (south-west France).
Subjects / KeywordsBiodiversity; Phenomenology; Ethics of otherness; Alterity; Unknownness; Conservation action; Levinas
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