Unnatural kinds

Biodiversity and human-modified entities

Authored by: Helena Siipi

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Biodiversity

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138827738
eBook ISBN: 9781315530215
Adobe ISBN: 9781315530208


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Human beings have an enormous capacity to modify the living world on Earth. The terms ‘‘genetic modification,’’ ‘‘cis-genesis,’’ 1 ‘‘synthetic biology,’’ 2 ‘‘ecosystem restoration,’’ 3 ‘‘assisted migration,’’ 4 ‘‘de-extinction,’’ 5 and ‘‘domestication,’’ for example, refer only to a handful of different ways of conceptualizing intentional human impacts on living entities. From the point of view of biodiversity, how should these human influences be understood? Should the term ‘‘biodiversity’’ be taken to include everything living from the deep sea fish to genetically modified crop plants and from primeval forests to stocks of industrial broiler farms? What about living entities unintentionally influenced by human beings, for example, through pollutants and species introductions?

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