The “Native” Question

No doubt each of us is familiar with the concept of native plants and animals. Nativism is by no means a new concept, but it is one that is often supported by fallacies and pseudoscience. It is probably one of the most misunderstood concepts in conservation policy. The problem is that the foundational values on which nativism rests is not clearly outlined in everyday thought because it is not a subject that is easily communicated since the value of native animals and plants has become so distorted through scientific understanding of ecology, the political and social perception of the “threat” of exotic species, and finally perhaps the most underappreciated source of value but perhaps mostly important to our appreciation of the concept of nativism which can be found in our rejection of the homogenisation of planetary ecology and the formation of mono-cultures resulting from invasive species. (keep reading)

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Aesthetic Normativity

The whole field of aesthetics has become significantly less fashionable in recent years as it has continued to encounter scepticism over whether aesthetic judgements are anything other than an individual’s subjective judgement. On this view, aesthetic judgements tell us nothing about the object in question as a matter of fact and speaks solely to the disposition and preference of the individual making the judgement “x is beautiful”. Such judgements on this view are nothing more than opinion, and that there is no relationship whatsoever between human experience and of cold empirical objective reality – “x is beautiful” on this view is the same as saying “I like x”. However, when we put the sceptical view of aesthetics under pressure, it quickly begins to crack and unravel, particularly as one soon finds that scepticism of this kind is deeply rooted in an ideology of extreme toleration bound up with post-modernist thought. (keep reading)