Questions on Ecocentric holism vs. Individualism (e.g., species /ecosystems vs. individuals)
1. Give some examples where respect for natural systems and species involves the sacrifice of the good of some individual organisms. Discuss how you might resolve such conflicts. Does the good of the species/ecosystem outweigh (ever? sometimes? always?) the good of individual members of that system? Give a plausible example where the good of the system outweighs the good of an individual in it. Now give a plausible example where the good of the individual outweighs the good of the system.
2. Do agree with Roger Caras that the conflict between concern for individuals and concern for species is a “nonissue?” Is emotional concern for the plight of individual wild animals appropriate? Is it “unscientific?”
3. Why do some bird lovers worry about feral cats? Describe what one such bird lover did (from our reading). Were his actions justifiable on your view?
4. Do species have interests (e.g., a good of their own)? Do humans have obligations to species (over and above obligations to their individual members)? Do we have obligations to preserve all species? Even the “creepy crawlies”? Even species going extinct on their own?
5. Briefly describe human restoration efforts concerning the California Condor. How should animal rights activists view the captive breeding programs like the one that involved the California condor?
6. Describe some of the issues involved in the restoration of wolves to Yellowstone Park. Has it been successful? Was restoring wolves to Yellowstone National Park good for the individual wolves that where involved in the restoration project? Was it good for the ecosystem? Do you approve of this restoration effort? Why or why not? Why do some oppose the restoration?
7. Why some Western states seek to kill sea lions? Should they be allowed to do so on your view?
8. Why was the Navy shooting goats on San Clemente Island? Do you agree with that policy? Why or why not?