Anthropocentrism ( from Greek ánthrōpos, "human being"; and kéntron, "center") is the belief that human beings are the central or most significant species on the planet (in the sense that they are considered to have a moral status or value higher than that of all other organisms), or the assessment of reality through an exclusively human perspective.
The term can be used interchangeably with humanocentrism, and some refer to the concept as human supremacy or human exceptionalism.
Anthropocentrism is considered to be profoundly embedded in many modern human cultures and conscious acts. It is a major concept in the field of environmental ethics andenvironmental philosophy, where it is often considered to be the root cause of problems created by human action within the ecosphere.
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Unquestioned beliefs are the real authorities of any culture.
A central unquestioned belief of this culture is that humans are superior to and separate from everyone else.
Human supremacism is part of the foundation of much of this culture’s religion, science, economics, philosophy, art, epistemology, and so on.
Human supremacism is killing the planet.
Human supremacists—at this point, almost everyone in this culture—have shown time and again that the maintenance of their belief in their own superiority, and the entitlement that springs from this belief, are more important to them than the well-being or existences of everyone else.
Indeed, they’ve shown that the maintenance of this self-perception and entitlement are more important than the continuation of life on the planet.
Until this supremacism is questioned and dismantled, the self-perceived entitlement that flows from this supremacism guarantees that every attempt to stop this culture from killing the planet will fail, in great measure because these attempts will be informed and limited by this supremacism, and thus will at best be ways to slightly mitigate harm, with the primary point being to make certain to never in any way question or otherwise endanger the supremacism or entitlement.
In short, people protect what’s important to them, and human supremacists have shown time and again that their sense of superiority and the tangible benefits they receive because of their refusal to perceive others as anything other than inferiors or resources to be exploited is more important to them than not destroying the capacity of this planet to support life, including, ironically, their own.
Derrick Jensen, The Myth of Human Supremacy
Ecocentrism and anthropocentrism are recognized as one of the common ecological moral dilemmas(Kortenkampn & Moore 2001).
People who hold anthropocentric view acknowledge themselves as beingthe only most significant entities in the universe while disregarding animals and plants unless theyprovide life necessities such as nutrition, clothing, shelter and medical benefits (MacKinnon 2007, p.331); consequently, human exploitation and abuse of the natural environment has been observed on aglobal scale.
On the other hand, ecocentrism, the term conceived by Aldo Leopold (Leopold 1949), recognizes intrinsic value in all living things on earth regardless of their usefulness to humans.
It also encourages people to respect and care for animals and plants for their own sake.
Questions arise for why people fail to respect nonhuman species and mistreat nature just to enhance their living standards.
As cited in Wapner and Matthew (2009, p. 205), answers for such questions were proposedby various scholars who tend to blame Judeo-Christian tradition, modernity, capitalism and patriarchy (men’s domination of women (Keller & Golley 2000 , p. 6)) for orienting people to value nature for what it supplies to humanity which results in the heavy consumption of natural resources.
The relationship between anthropocentrism and patriarchy, as proposed by Keller & Golley (2000, p. 6), is that they are both ‘validated by the same conceptual logic’, i.e. anthropocentrism and patriarchy encourage dominion over women and nature where they are disregarded in some decisions and negatively affected.
From article Environmental Ethics: Between Anthropocentrism and Ecocentrism, continue reading here
Since this word comes up several times (see highlights) in discussing anthropocentrism, it is important it is defined.
An entitlement mentality is a state of mind in which an individual comes to believe that privileges are instead rights, and that they are to be expected as a matter of course.
An entitlement mentality is frequently characterized by the following viewpoints or beliefs:
A lack of appreciation for the sacrifices of others.
Lack of personal responsibility. Just as those with an entitlement mentality typically expect others to solve their problems, they also refuse to accept when the problems are of their own making. Thus, those with an entitlement mentality are frequently unable or unwilling to acknowledge fault or error; this typically leads to denial, blaming & criticizing others.
An inability to accept that actions carry consequences.
Arrogantly assuming that privilege reflects on the merits of the individual in question.
This mentality often shows up as expecting something for nothing; the expectation that one can achieve something with minimal or no effort and believing that another person or people owe one something.
What is then created here is a very one sided attitude and an attitude that is out of balance with life. It is not based on giving and receiving; it is only about taking.
One is only thinking about themselves and what they can gain. There is no thought or consideration as to what one can give or do for their own fulfilment. One’s own needs then take precedence over everyone else’s.
And this behaviour can naturally create anger and frustration from the people who are working for what they have and are giving and not just taking from this world.