, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 247–250 | Cite as

The diversities of biodiversity

James Maclaurin and Kim Sterelny: What is Biodiversity? The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2008, xii + 217 pp, US$ 24 PB
  • James JustusEmail author
Book Review

A monograph-length analysis of biodiversity from two senior philosophers of biology reflects two things: the problematic complexity of the concept, and the interesting theoretical and methodological issues the sciences studying and endeavouring to protect it raise. The concept’s significance is common currency within environmental ethics, but biodiversity has only recently garnered broader philosophical attention. Helping rectify this, Maclaurin and Sterelny make a novel and valuable contribution to the growing scientifically oriented philosophical literature on biodiversity.

For a thin book, its scope is ambitious. While other analyses of biodiversity focus primarily on ecological diversity, eight relatively short chapters (and brief conclusion) cover: disciplinary and legal circumstances in which the concept of biodiversity emerged (Chap. 1); taxonomic methodologies and their bearing on characterizing biodiversity (Chap. 1), especially different accounts of species (Chap. 2);...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Philosophy DepartmentUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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