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The Ethics of Wolf Control
MRIC 2005/06

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"The Ethics of Wolf Control"

September 12th 
Michael Nelson - Philosophy

Abstract: The wolf control debate has continued for many years. Although, in some respects, the debate seems to be at an impasse, it also has the potential to take on a fresh character as wolves recover throughout the lower 48 states. At a superficial level, the debate is fueled by rhetoric, argument, and political action (or inaction) of various kinds. At a deep level, the debate is motivated by groups with apparently conflicting worldviews. In some very important ways and for many participants in the debate, there is a pathological mismatch between these deeper motivations and the more superficial fueling. The mismatch is likely to be so great that it prevents anyone from adequately understanding how the worldviews actually conflict and how they may be more similar than is currently possible to appreciate. The purpose of this talk is to use formal (but accessible) philosophical tools to identify these unappreciated mismatches. This type of analysis provides the most promising means for identifying and dispensing with false conflicts, and for clarifying genuine conflicts. Although this analysis is, by itself, insufficient for solving this controversy, it is an essential, and previously under-appreciated, component of the ultimate solution. Except for those interested in conflict for its own sake, analyzes like that presented here would advance the interests of all participants in this debate.

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