In light of our differences: how diversity in nature and culture makes us human
Most scientists would agree that a sixth mass extinction is on the horizon unless radical changes are made in how Western society treats nature. At the same time, another extinction crisis is unfolding: the loss of many of the world's languages. More and more work in applied biology, anthropology, linguistics, and other related fields is now driven by the assumption that we are approaching a threshold of irreversible loss, that events during the next few decades will decide whether we cross over into a fundamentally changed and significantly diminished world. This lead to a very simple question that has not, until now, been answered satisfactorily: Why should anyone care?
David Harmon takes a unique approach to answering this essential question by drawing on insights from conservation biology, evolutionary theory, linguistics, geography, psychology, philosophy, and ethics. His interconnected discussion explores the works of Voltaire, A. O. Lovejoy, Darwin, Wittgenstein, William James, Dobzhansky, and many other to explain why everyone must be concerned about the loss of diversity. When more and more elemental differences are erased from the natural world and human societies, the field of possible experience becomes more constricted and our essential humanity becomes jeopardized.
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The Great Chain of Being and the Principle of Plenitude
Biodiversity as Scientific Concept and Rallying Cry
What is Cultural Diversity?
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allopatric speciation Beckner's become biocultural diversity biocultural presence biodiversity biological and cultural biological diversity biological species concept biologists Boswell century Chain chapter common consciousness cultural diversity Darwin defined definition dialects discussion distinct Dobzhansky ecosystems endangered languages endemic languages entities environmental ethical Ethnologue evolution evolutionary example existence experience extinction fact forms genetic global Groombridge 1992 groups guages Harmon Heywood human humankind hunter-gatherer indigenous individual IUCN Red List James kind language genesis linguistic linguistic diversity living logical loss Lovejoy Manx mass extinction means megadiversity countries million mind modal points monoculture monothetic Morris Swadesh mother tongue nature and culture organisms percent philosopher plants polythetic morality population principle of plenitude reason recognize religion sense similar sity Skutnabb-Kangas 2000 social speakers speciation species and languages species concept things thought tion Todorov trends unity universe variety Voltaire Whewell Wilson world's languages