Environmental Philosophy

Volume 15, Issue 2, Fall 2018

Ben Mylius
Pages 159-194

Three Types of Anthropocentrism

This paper develops a language for distinguishing more rigorously between various senses of the term ‘anthropocentrism.’ Specifically, it differentiates between: 1. Perceptual anthropocentrism (which characterizes paradigms informed by sense-data from human sensory organs); 2. Descriptive anthropocentrism (which characterizes paradigms that begin from, center upon, or are ordered around Homo sapiens / ‘the human’) 3. Normative anthropocentrism (which characterizes paradigms that constrain inquiry in a way that somehow privileges Homo sapiens / ‘the human’ [passive normative anthropocentrism]; and which characterizes paradigms that make assumptions or assertions about the superiority of Homo sapiens, its capacities, the primacy of its values, its position in the universe, and/or make prescriptions based on these assertions and assumptions [active normative anthropocentrism]).