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Biology | Philosophy | Philosophy of Science


In this paper, we discuss the following four alternative ways of understanding the outcomes of resurrection biology (also known as de-extinction). Implications of each of the ways are discussed with respect to concepts of species and extinction. (1) Replication: animals created by resurrection biology do not belong to the original species but are copies of it. The view is compatible with finality of extinction as well as with certain biological and ecological species concepts. (2) Re-creation: animals created are members of the original species but, despite their existence, the species remains extinct. The view is incompatible with all species concepts presented. (3) Non-extinction: animals produced belong to the original species which actually never went extinct. The view may be consistent with phenetic and phylogenetic species concepts as well as with finality of extinction. (4) According to literal resurrection, resurrection biology is successful in reversing extinction through the creation of new members of species that once went extinct. This view presupposes non-finality of extinction and it is compatible with phenetic species concepts. It is notable that no species or extinction concept is consistent with all possible views of resurrection biology nor is any view of resurrection biology consistent with all species or extinction concepts. Thus, one’s views regarding species and extinction determine which views one can adopt regarding resurrection biology and vice versa.

Document Type

Accepted Version


This article is the author-created version that incorporates referee comments. It is the accepted-for-publication version. The content of this version may be identical to the published version (the version of record) save for value-added elements provided by the publisher (e.g., copy editing, layout changes, or branding consistent with the rest of the publication).


This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Philosophy & Technology. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13347-016-0244-0.

Original Citation

Helena Siipi & Leonard Finkelman
The extinction and de-extinction of species.
Philosophy & Technology, 2017, volume 30, issue 4, pages 427-441



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