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Environmental Values

On the Moral Considerability of Homo sapiens and Other Species

Ronald Sandler and Judith Crane

Environmental Values 15(2006): 69-84. doi: 10.3197/096327106776678960


It is sometimes claimed that as members of the species Homo sapiens we have a responsibility to promote the good of Homo sapiens itself (distinct from the good of its individual members). Lawrence Johnson has recently defended this claim as part of his approach to resolving the problem of future generations. We show that there are several difficulties with Johnson's argument, many of which are likely to attend any attempt to establish the moral considerability of Homo sapiens or species generally. Further, even if Homo sapiens were morally considerable, this would not ground an adequate response to the problem of future generations. The sort of moral considerability that would be appropriate to Homo sapiens, or species generally, would not be as robust nor have the implications that many have supposed.

KEYWORDS: Species, moral considerability, interests, future generations, Homo sapiens

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Can We Harm Future People? Alan Carter

Future Generations and Environmental Ethics. Lawrence E. Johnson

The Future - For Better or Worse Ernest Partridge

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Should We Move the Whitebark Pine? Assisted Migration, Ethics and Global Environmental Change.Clare Palmer and Brendon M.H. Larson

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