Considering De-Extinction: Zombie Arguments and the Walking (And Flying and Swimming) Dead

Eric Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


De-extinction raises anew ontological and epistemological problems that have engaged environmental philosophers for decades. This essay re-examines these issues to provide a fuller understanding—and a critique—of de-extinction. One of my claims is that de-extinction as a philosophical problem merely recycles old issues and debates in the field (hence, “zombie” arguments). De-extinction is a project that arises out of the assertion of human domination of the natural world. Thus the acceptance of de-extinction as an environmental policy is an expression of a human-nature relationship that disvalues the natural world and subjugates nature completely to the interests of humanity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-103
Number of pages23
JournalEthics, Policy and Environment
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Philosophy
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


  • authenticity
  • de-extinction
  • design in nature
  • domination of nature
  • ecological restoration
  • environmental management
  • proxy species
  • zombies


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