Anthropocentrism

Tim Hayward

I notice that an old encyclopaedia entry of mine on Anthropocentrism has reached ‘top 3%’ of articles on the Academia.edu site.  It’s gratifying to be in a top-something list of something, whatever it means, but more interesting is to find that anthropocentrism today seems to be a much more discussed topic than it was at my earlier time of writing.

Recently, I’ve been wondering, do we have robust intuitions about what it means to treat nonhumans fairly?  A difficulty I noted in the article is that ‘it is hard to apply the Golden Rule – “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – if the others are so constitutionally different as to render the necessary comparison impossible.’  But how  different from us humans are other inhabitants of this planet?  Is some empathy and understanding not possible in many cases?  We adjust for different needs and…

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