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God Creating The Animals (late 1620s? Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, called Il Grechetto)

Species-related publications

What’s a personal blog for, if not to blow my own horn? Well, it can only be to blow the horns of those who I have collaborated with, of course.

Two of my most recent publications are:

  • 2022a. “Species, God, and Dominion.” In Speciesism in Biology and Culture: How Human Exceptionalism Is Pushing Planetary Boundaries, edited by Brian Swartz and Brent D. Mishler, 95–110. Cham: Springer International Publishing.
  • 2022b. “The Good Species.” In Species Problems and Beyond: Contemporary Issues in Philosophy and Practice, edited by John S. Wilkins, Frank E. Zachos, and Igor Ya. Pavlinov, 105–24. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.

The first is a chapter in the open Access book edited by Schwartz and Mishler. They (and VolkswagenStiftung) graciously covered my trip to Berkeley in 2013 to deliver this presentation, but with health and other issues, it took until last year to publish it, which was good, because I wanted to update it anyway. Now, my piece is about the role of conservatism in religion (Dominionism in particular) and politics treating the earth as an infinite resource to exploit. Some of you might have gathered already my distaste for all things capitalism; I display it here. Also, I trace the origins of the need for a natural historical species concept from the Noah’s Ark movement of the 16th and subsequent centuries.

But the book itself has much more worth reading (and it’s free, remember?). The table of contents gives the details, but allow me to give a summary. The term “speciesism” was, I believe, coined by Peter Singer in his 1975 book Animal Rights, where he defined it by analogy with racism, as “a prejudice or bias in favor of one’s own species”. Schwartz and Mishler (full disclosure – Mishler is a co-author of mine) organised philosophers (Rasmus Winther, Quayshawn Spencer and myself), scientists, engineers and social researchers. The topics covered included species concepts and taxonomy (my field, yay), evolution, sustainability, human nature, races, and the law. I strongly recommend it.

Species Problems and Beyond (2022)

The other publication occurs in a book I coedited with Frank Zachos, a mammalogist in Vienna, and Igor Pavlinov, also a mammalogist in Moscow (you can imagine the timezone coordination issues). This is a book of new essays on the species problem, and includes philosophers and scientists. My own minor contribution is entitled “The Good Species“, and is based on the suggestions of Yuichi Amitani that species are prototypes for biologists. I argue that taxonomists learn their notion of what counts as a species in their specialty is learned by mimesis and correction, rather than a textbook definition. Find it in a library or splurge and buy a copy. I chose the artwork, which I just love.

One Comment

  1. Zachriel Zachriel

    Congratulations! Will check it out.

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