Environmental Ethics

Volume 44, Issue 2, Summer 2022

Anna WienhuesOrcid-ID, Anna Deplazes-ZempOrcid-ID
Pages 161-184

Otherness-based Reasons for the Protection of (Bio)Diversity

Different arguments in favor of the moral relevance of the concept of biodiversity (e.g., in terms of its intrinsic or instrumental value) face a range of serious difficulties, despite that biodiversity constitutes a central tenet of many environmentalist practices and beliefs. That discrepancy is considerable for the debate on potential moral reasons for protecting biodiversity. This paper adds a new angle by focusing on the potential of the concept of natural otherness—specifically individual and process otherness in nature—for providing additional moral reasons in favor of the protection of biodiversity as variety. Four arguments are presented. Two arguments draw on the individual natural otherness of nonhuman living beings and two additional arguments draw on the process otherness of active nature. The upshot is that each of these arguments—if successful—provides a moral reason in favor of the protection of biodiversity.