Edited by Jens Allwood, Olga Pombo, Clara Renna and Giovanni Scarafile
[Controversies 16] 2020
► pp. 115–131
Chapter 6. What is the meaning of biodiversity?
A pragmatist approach to an intrinsically interdisciplinary concept
The preservation of biodiversity is one of the greatest concerns of our age. However, a satisfactory operational definition of biodiversity is still lacking, and it is likely that it won’t be achieved in the near future. In their practice of measurement scientists adopt a pluralistic and multi-dimensional metric – an approach which is widely accepted, but not theoretically justified. The goal of this paper is to account for such pluralistic approach. Our solution is pragmatist: we hold that the pragmatic maxim highlights the fact-value entanglement intrinsic to the concept of biodiversity. On this basis, we argue that the axiological dimension is essential to the meaning of the concept since its extension cannot be fixed independently of it.