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Life's Intrinsic Value Science, Ethics, and Nature

ISBN-10: 0231117876

ISBN-13: 9780231117876

Edition: 2001

Authors: Nicholas Agar

List price: $40.00
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Description:

Are bacteriophage T4 and the long-nosed elephant fish valuable in their own right? Nicholas Agar defends an affirmative answer to this question by arguing that anything living is intrinsically valuable. This claim challenges received ethical wisdom according to which only human beings are valuable in themselves. The resulting biocentric or life-centered morality forms the platform for an ethic of the environment. Agar builds a bridge between the biological sciences and what he calls "folk" morality to arrive at a workable environmental ethic and a new spectrum -- a new hierarchy -- of living organisms. The book overturns common-sense moral belief as well as centuries of philosophical speculation on the exclusive moral significance of humans. Spanning several fields, including philosophy of psychology, philosophy of science, and other areas of contemporary analytic philosophy, Agar analyzes and speaks to a wide array of historic and contemporary views, from Aristotle and Kant, to E. O. Wilson, Holmes Rolston II, and Baird Callicot. The result is a challenge to prevailing definitions of value and a call for a scientifically-informed appreciation of nature.
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Book details

List price: $40.00
Copyright year: 2001
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 5/7/2001
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 212
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.638
Language: English

Acknowledgments
Preface
The Psychological View of Intrinsic Value
Life on Mars, Life on Earth
Defining Intrinsic Value?
Why Are Humans Morally Special?
Science's Bridge from Nature to Value
Scientific Facts and Values
The Limits of Ethical Extensionism
Beyond Ethical Extensionism?
Overlapping Kinds and Value
Two Types of Natural Kind Overlap
What to Do About Kind Overlaps
Descriptive Overlaps and Morality
Combining Descriptive and Metaphysical Kind Overlaps to Unearth Environmental Value
Recent Defenses of Biocentrism
The Value of Life
An Ethic to Live by?
A Morally Specialized Account of Life
Commonsense and Customized Accounts of Life
A Biofunctional Explanation of Self-Movement
Why the Representationally Alive Are Morally Important
Other- and Self-Directed Goals
The Contents of Biopreferences
The Teleological Account of Content
The Threat of Genic Selectionism
Sentience and Goals
Species and Ecosystems
The Shortcomings of Individualism
Environmental Value Holism
Individualistic Ethics of Species and Ecosystems
An Impossible Ethic?
Biocentrism, Consequentialism, and Cognitive Tractability
Does Life Value Leave Room for Human Lives?
Notes
References
Index