Sagoff used his fellowship to research and write about the moral, aesthetic and cultural rationale for preserving biodiversity and protecting the world's ecological and evolutionary heritage. In collaboration with colleagues at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, he conducted interdisciplinary research addressing the role of humanities in international management of natural resources in order to articulate necessary moral and cultural commitments required to protect biological diversity and environmental quality. Sagoff wrote numerous journal articles and book chapters on environmental ethics and biodiversity, and he lectured on these topics throughout Australia, the UK and the United States.
Mark Sagoff focuses on biodiversity in its connection to our experience and sense of place. He is interested in the protection of environments, not just as resources to be used, but as places with intrinsic value. He is also interested in what happens to our experience of nature as the objects of that experience increasingly become the products of technology.
Sagoff's 1988 book, The Economy of the Earth, was well-received even in journals of economics, although it criticizes economists who would base policy on satisfying the preferences individuals reveal in markets as distinct from values that emerge from social, cultural and political deliberation. Sagoff believes that the benefits of biodiversity are compelling, but that the theme of nature as a shared and inherited tradition, as our common evolutionary memory, must come first.
Ph.D., University of Rochester
1970: Philosophy, New York, USA
Bachelor of Arts, Harvard University
1963: History and Literature, Massachusetts, USA
KEY LEADERSHIP POSITIONS
National Research Council
1996: Member, Commission of Life Science Committee
KEY AWARDS & HONORS
1999: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
1991: Pew Fellows Program in Conservation and the Environment