Towards EcoEvoEthics

  • Patrick Blandin
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 296)


Ecology long considered the natural world as an #x201C;equilibrium world#x201D;. This view culminated in the 1950s with the ecosystem paradigm, which was strengthened by the idea that the reciprocal selection of interacting species should produce ecological stability. At the end of the 1940s, Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic valued the stability of natural communities, and the balance of nature became a key issue for conservationists. Nowadays, there is a shift towards a co-change paradigm: interacting biological and non-biological entities are co-changing through a transactional web that forms the biosphere. Consequently, as ecology meets evolution, the conservation target must shift from the stability of ecological systems to their adaptability. Simultaneously, there is a need for an eco-evolutionary ethics which assumes that we and our co-evolving aliens are living in a changing world. Difficult issues should therefore be addressed, such as the uniqueness and intrinsic value of living entities versus the substitutability of functionally redundant species, and the evolutionary value of diversity. Finally, beyond the biocentrism versus anthropocentrism debate, this EcoEvoEthics should affirm that a thing is right when it tends to enhance the biosphere's capacity to evolve.


Environmental Ethic Evolutionary Ethic Living Entity Land Ethic Ecosystem Concept 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department Men-Natures-Societies, Ecoanthropology and EthnobiologyMuséum National d’Histoire NaturelleParisFrance

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