Aesthetics in Biodiversity Conservation

Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (forthcoming)
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Biodiversity loss is an immense ecological crisis of our time. But while “biodiversity” has become a buzzword in media and policy, conservationists have found it difficult to build a common understanding on the nature and severity of biodiversity loss and the means to tackle it. Perhaps surprisingly, many biologists and philosophers have proposed that biodiversity might be best defended with reference to its aesthetic value. This article explores whether aesthetic values could provide strong support for biodiversity conservation. By exploring the question from the viewpoints of species diversity, ecosystem diversity, and genetic diversity, we argue that there is a mismatch between apparent and real biodiversity and that aesthetics can, at best, give only limited support for biodiversity conservation.

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Jukka Mikkonen
University of Jyväskylä


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