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Negentropism: An ecological theory of value

Cooper, Mark William (2022) Negentropism: An ecological theory of value. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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I will contend here that it is possible, using concepts taken from the natural sciences, to point to a feature of living beings and natural phenomena that provides a fundamental locus of value. It is hoped that this method of locating value will help to ‘bridge the gap’ between economic and ecological concerns. I will discuss existing theories about the value of nature and outline an alternative theory of value that is based on the observable tendency for living things to work against the wider universe’s tendency toward entropy and increased disorder over time. These states-of-affairs in nature are objective and, in some cases, measurable, and I contend that they provide a foundation for moral value. I propose that the concept of negentropy – or negative entropy – can provide a measure of the value in living things and the things created by living things, including the products of human labour. I will investigate the suitability of a ‘negentropic’ theory of value as a basis for economic and ethical decision-making.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Social Sciences and Arts
Supervisor(s): Schwenkenbecher, Anne and Brueckner, Martin
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