- Title Pages
- Chapter 1 Moore and the Idea of Goodness
- Chapter 2 Goodness before and after Moore
- Chapter 3 An Argument for Absolute Goodness
- Chapter 4 Absolute Evil, Relative Goodness
- Chapter 5 Recent Skepticism about Absolute Goodness
- Chapter 6 Being Good and Being Goodfor Someone
- Chapter 7 Noninstrumental Advantageousness
- Chapter 8 The Problem of Intelligibility
- Chapter 9 The Problem of Double Value
- Chapter 10 Pleasure Reconsidered
- Chapter 11 Scanlon's Buck-Passing Account of Value
- Chapter 12 Moore's Argument against Relative Goodness
- Chapter 13 Goodness and Variability
- Chapter 14 Impersonality: An Ethical Objection to Absolute Goodness
- Chapter 15 Further Reflections on the Ethical Objection
- Chapter 16 Moore's Mistake about Unobserved Beauty
- Chapter 17 Better States of Affairs and Buck-Passing
- Chapter 18 The Enjoyment of Beauty
- Chapter 19 Is Love Absolutely Good?
- Chapter 20 Is Cruelty Absolutely Bad?
- Chapter 21 Kant on Suicide
- Chapter 22 Future Generations
- Chapter 23 Biodiversity
- Chapter 24 Is Equality Absolutely Good?
- Chapter 25 The Value of Persons and Other Creatures
- Chapter 26 Euthanasia
- Chapter 27 The Extinction of Humankind
- Chapter 28 The Case against Absolute Goodness Reviewed
- Chapter 29 The Problem of Intelligibility Revisited
- Chapter 30 Attributive and Predicative Uses of “Good”
- Appendix A Killing Persons
- Appendix B J. David Velleman on the Value Inhering in Persons
- Appendix C Robert Merrihew Adams on the Highest Good
- Appendix D Thomas Hurka on the Structure of Goods
- Appendix E Jeff McMahan on Impersonal Value
- Appendix F Other Authors and Uses
- (p.136) Chapter 23 Biodiversity
- Against Absolute Goodness
- Oxford University Press
This chapter examines the concept of biodiversity. It argues that the more confident we are that the extinction of a species would or might involve a loss of what is good for someone—especially for humans but also for other living things—the more our confidence should grow that there is reason to prevent that loss. Variety for its own sake should not be our concern. In fact, we would have reason to be glad about the extinction of a species, if we could be confident that the members of that species would otherwise have had painful lives in which nothing good for them could be experienced. (Suppose a mad scientist has created a new form of life in order to torture the members of that new species. It would be best for those new creatures were their species to become extinct.) So we should reject the attempt to show that we need to think in terms of absolute goodness. It is not true that biodiversity is, quite simply, a good thing.
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