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Environmental Values

Anthropocentrism vs. Nonanthropocentrism: Why Should We Care?

Katie McShane

Environmental Values 16(2007): 169-186. doi: 10.3197/096327107780474555


Many recent critical discussions of anthropocentrism have focused on Bryan Norton's 'convergence hypothesis': the claim that both anthropocentric and nonanthropocentric ethics will recommend the same environmentally responsible behaviours and policies. I argue that even if we grant the truth of Norton's convergence hypothesis, there are still good reasons to worry about anthropocentric ethics. Ethics legitimately raises questions about how to feel, not just about which actions to take or which policies to adopt. From the point of view of norms for feeling, anthropocentrism has very different practical implications from nonanthropocentrism; it undermines some of the common attitudes - love, respect, awe - that people think it appropriate to take toward the natural world.

KEYWORDS: Anthropocentrism, environment, ethics, Norton, value

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Anthropocentrism: A Misunderstood Problem. Tim Hayward

Pragmatism, Adaptive Management, and Sustainability. Bryan G. Norton

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial. Clive L. Spash

Convergence, Noninstrumental Value and the Semantics of 'Love': Comment on McShane. Bryan G. Norton

Convergence, Noninstrumental Value and the Semantics of 'Love': Reply to Norton.Katie McShane

Editorial: Ronald Hepburn and the humanising of Environmental Aesthetics. Isis Brook

Disagreement and Responses to Climate Change Graham Long

A Defence of Environmental Stewardship. Jennifer Welchman

At the Centre of What? A Critical Note on the Centrism-Terminology in Environmental Ethics. Lars Samuelsson

The Nature of Degrowth: Theorising the Core of Nature for the Degrowth Movement. Pasi Heikkurinen

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