Environmental Ethics

Volume 14, Issue 2, Summer 1992

J. Douglas Rabb
Pages 177-183

From Triangles to Tripods
Polycentrism in Environmental Ethics

Callicott’s basic mistake in his much regretted paper ”Animal Liberation: A Triangular Affair” is to think of the anthropocentric, zoocentric, and biocentric perspectives as mutually exclusive alternatives. An environmental ethics requires, instead, a polycentric perspective that accommodates and does justice to all three positions in question. I explain the polycentric perspective in terms of an analogy derived from the pioneering work of Canadian philosopher Rupert C. Lodge and distinguish it from both pragmatism and moral pluralism.