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Anthropocentrism (Greek άνθρωπος, anthropos, human being, κέντρον, kentron, "center") is the idea that, for humans, humans must be the central concern, and that humanity must judge all things accordingly: Anthropos (the term, like “human”, refers to both men and women) must be considered, looked after and cared for, above all other real or imaginary beings. Anthropocentism is a secular, rational and realistic perspective that is closely related to humanism.
Anthropocentrism in environmentalism[edit | edit source]
Anthropocentrism has been posited by some environmentalists, in such books as Confessions of an Eco-Warrior by Dave Foreman and Green Rage by Christopher Manes, as the underlying if unstated reason why humanity dominates and sees the need to "develop" most of the Earth. Anthropocentrism views civilization rather than wilderness as the real world, and sets aside small wilderness preserves in the midst of large areas dominated by human activities instead of the other way around. In this sense, anthropocentrism has been identified by these writers and others as a root cause of the ecological crisis, human overpopulation, and extinctions of many non-human species.
Anthropocentrism, or human-centredness, is widely acknowledged as a central problematic concept in environmental philosophy, where it is used to draw attention to a systematic bias in traditional Western attitudes to the non-human world (Naess 1973). Val Plumwood (1993, 1996) has argued that anthropocentrism plays an analogous role in green theory to androcentrism in feminist theory and ethnocentrism in anti-racist theory. Plumwood calls human-centredness "anthrocentrism" to emphasise this parallel.
Anthropocentrism in Christianity[edit | edit source]
Some evangelical Christians have also been critical, viewing a human-centered worldview, rather than a Christ-centered or God-centered worldview, as a core societal problem. According to this viewpoint, a fallen humanity placing its own desires ahead of the teachings of Christ leads to rampant selfishness and behavior viewed as sinful.
Biocentrism[edit | edit source]
Biocentrism (the belief that all life, or even the whole universe living or otherwise taken as a whole, is equally valid and humanity is not the center of existence) has been proposed as an antonym of anthropocentrism.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Anthropic principle
- Anthropocentric embodied energy analysis
- Deep Ecology
- Human exceptionalism
- Great Ape personhood
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