Anthropocentric Environmental Ethics

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A critique against the Western anthropocentric environmental ethics, using the treatment of animals and their rights as an example.
Brennan (1984) defined environmental ethics as the discipline in philosophy that studies the moral relationship of human beings to and also the value and moral status of the environment and its non-human contents. This essay will look at environmental ethics as a discipline, its development and challenges, the anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric approaches, the critiques of anthropocentrism, the use of animal rights as an example of the importance of non- anthropocentrism
Contemporary environmental ethics only emerged as an academic discipline in the 1970’s (Dasgupta, 2001). According to Brennan (1984),
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There are various criticisms of anthropocentrism, some are as follows. Firstly, anthropocentrism is not complete in terms of values (Dasgupta, 2001). It is believed that only humans have values and living beings and nature do not have values because humans have goals, only humans have interests(Dasgupta, 2001). Secondly, anthropocentrism is not deep philosophically (Ferre, 1996). It emphasizes the separation of and tension between humans and nature (Dunlap et al., 2000), and the comparative distinction between humans and animals. The traditional and Descartes’ dualism emphasize absolute subject-object differentiation and the human subject and its dominion over the natural objects (Dasgupta, 2001). Thirdly, practically, anthropocentrism has led human-kind into difficult situations (Dasgupta, 2001). Different anthropocentric views directed human behavior and represented itself in a possessive, selfishness, to be developed into economism, consumerism and individualism (Hill,…show more content…
The answer is that suffering is suffering and love is love and we cannot wipe out human suffering without addressing the suffering of all living beings. The person who would brutalize an innocent animal is the same person who would brutalize his or her closest relative. Any place that suffering can be addressed is a good place to focus attention. Many humans have an attitude that restricts their ability to understand or empathize with non-human animals and other life forms and has some serious implications for all life on this planet. Animals or other life forms that don't express themselves in human ways by language or in terms easily comprehensible by common human standards are often considered less developed, inferior, more primitive or mechanistic, and usually of less importance than humans (Dominick, 1998). This viewpoint has been used to justify using animals as objects for human ends. Since humans are the superior creatures, "dumb, unfeeling" non-humans can be disregarded, mistreated, killed or whole species eliminated without much concern for their existence in itself, only their usefulness or lack of it to humankind (Harvey, 2005). Many humans, as they see other animals are more like them in patterns of behavior and expression of intelligence, begin to respect them more and treat
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