The variety of the forms of life has been a subject of philosophical reflection since Plato, who in the Statesman celebrated the diversity of the natural world as a mean to shed some light on the relationship between humans and other animals. The term “biodiversity”, however, was coined only in 1986, proving immediately a huge success: conserving biodiversity (along with its measurement, assessment, and improvement) has become central to the interests of scientists, governments, NGO, media, and general public alike. Even in our daily lives, if we try to behave in an environmentally responsible manner, we do so, after all, because we believe that biodiversity is a value on which the quality and the very possibility of life of our species may depend.
“Biodiversity”, in other words, seems to be something more than just a contraction of “biological diversity”: if biological diversity is the target of awe and wonder, primarily aesthetic, biodiversity becomes instead something to be protected, loaded with scientific, ethical, and political meanings. But what is it meant, exactly, by “biodiversity”? How are we to measure it, given the incredible complexity of the living world? What are, if any, the units of biodiversity? Is biodiversity a value in itself? Are charismatic taxa such as the Giant Panda more valuable than smallpox virus? Is biodiversity just an ideological construct? This issue of the Rivista di estetica aims to address such and similar questions, exploring what might be called “the philosophy of biodiversity”, a reflection at the intersection of the philosophy of science, epistemology, aesthetics, ethics, and politics.
Advisory Editor: Elena Casetta
mail to: elenattesac[AT]gmail.com and rivista.estetica[AT]gmail.com
Deadline for submission: September 30, 2014.