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Research Seminar: Where Value Resides:On different ways of valuing nature

Wednesday 6th February

3:30pm, ARTS 01.02

Rupert Read and Tom Greaves

Ecological Valuation

It seems like a good idea to take account of the importance of biodiversity as our common heritage, to take ecosystem services into account in economic assessment, and in general to put a value on nature. But we argue that the worth of this kind of project very much depends upon the explicit and implicit philosophical understanding of valuation that underpins such assessments. If our evaluations of nature are not based on a truly ecological way of valuing, then such assessments can be worse than useless. We develop an idea about what such ecological valuation is and should be and on that basis offer a critique of various current projects for valuing nature.

Philosophy colleagues Tom Greaves and Rupert Read are currently working on developing an ecological account of valuation, and on a project examining the role fundamental moods such as wonder and awe in the way that our experience of the natural world is historically and politically conditioned. Their talk is guaranteed to make us re-think our views of ‘nature’ and conceptions like ecosystem services.