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    The value of technology versus nature

    Steyn, Benjamin Oliver (2023) The value of technology versus nature. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    An emerging set of public policy debates concern the limits of humanity’s control over nature. These include topics such as wildlife conservation, human enhancement, genetic modification of crops, artificial habitats, de-extinction, synthetic biology, built environment planning, and various strands of bioethics. Attitudes towards such topics are not well explained by the standard 2-dimensional political model favored by political scientists of i) a left/right economic spectrum and ii) a liberal/authoritarian social spectrum. I pose a new, orthogonal, spectrum to fill the void. It is a spectrum of value held for, on the one hand, Nature, and on the other, Technology. Though this requires further clarification, roughly speaking, what is in opposition is not Nature and Technology's respective instrumental value (value as means to ends), but rather their intrinsic value (value as ends in themselves). The ‘Nature’ end of the spectrum incorporates the sentiments of many environmental ethicists. The ‘Technology’ end, though intuitive for some, has received minimal theoretical attention, which I attempt to rectify with my own arguments. I go on to argue, contra environmental ethics, that it is the intrinsic value of technology that ought to be preferred. The thesis thus mounts an intrinsic objection to the Romantic-era-inspired ‘deep ecology’ in favor of a modern Enlightenment-inspired advocation of technological progress.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2023 15:36
    Last Modified: 17 Nov 2023 15:36


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