Ecological Ethics: Constructing a Professional Ethic for Ecologists and Biodiversity Managers View Homepage


Ontology type: schema:MonetaryGrant     


Grant Info

YEARS

2005-2008

FUNDING AMOUNT

66860 USD

ABSTRACT

Ecological research and biodiversity management often raise ethical questions in areas that include responsibilities and duties to the scientific community, public welfare, individual research animals, species, and even ecosystems. Value-laden questions cross multiple ethical domains from traditional (human) ethical theory and research ethics, to animal and environmental ethics. Answering these ethical questions is challenging because ecologists and biodiversity managers do not have the equivalent of bioethics, which is an established field with a support network focused mainly on biomedicine, to guide them in making decisions. Environmental ethics provides some insight into environmental values and the duties these may impose upon human agents. But for the most part the field does not engage many of the common responsibilities and obligations ecologists and managers have to the scientific profession or to public welfare. We propose to bring ethicists, scientists, and biodiversity managers together in a collaborative effort to study and inform the methods of ethical analysis and problem solving in ecological research and biodiversity management. The results of this project will be a new case literature, preliminary ethical framework, and research agenda for a novel field within professional ethics devoted to exploring the ethical problems and questions faced by ecological researchers and biodiversity managers, what we call "ecological ethics." The various domains of theoretical and applied ethics are frequently separated as fields of study. Our project integrates these areas to identify principles that will be grouped in an ethical framework so that ecologists and biodiversity managers can identify relevant moral considerations raised by their research and management activities. Ethical theory has not penetrated ecological research in a significant manner, and the often distinctive, practical issues raised by ecological researchers have, up to now, not informed ethical scholarship as well as they might. Our project will begin with analysis of concrete ethical challenges faced by ecological researchers and biodiversity managers. We turn to ethical theory and traditions of applied ethics for clarification and insight into the specific moral problems presented in eight cases in five general issue areas of ecological research and biodiversity management. These cases will then be analyzed in stage two of our project to begin the creation of an integrative ethical framework which will help managers and scientists identify and clarify the diverse, multi-level ethical questions and issues encountered in biodiversity management and in field and laboratory experiments in ecology. The project will begin to provide ecologists and biodiversity managers with materials upon which they can reflect on the ethical dimensions of their work with the goal of creating a structure for addressing ethical problems. More... »

URL

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