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Environmental Philosophy

Volume 13, Issue 1, Spring 2016

Donald S. Maier
Pages 1-33

Taking Nature Seriously in the Anthropocene

Nature conservation in the Anthropocene predominantly supposes that human-caused changes have worsened nature’s condition, which warrants undertaking conservation projects that actively manage or manipulate nature to improve it in quality or quantity. This essay surveys, by category, reasons and arguments for pursuing these projects. It finds key reasons to be normatively unimportant and key arguments incomplete or invalid. Conservation on this basis does not take nature seriously because it acts “for no good reason.” Finally, by attending to underlying sources of this general failure, the essay suggests how a different view of the value of nature and its conservation may achieve a sounder footing.

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