Environmental Ethics

Volume 5, Issue 3, Fall 1983

Richard A. Watson
Pages 245-256

A Critique of Anti-Anthropocentric Biocentrism

Ame Naess, John Rodman, George Sessions, and others, designated herein as ecosophers, propose an egalitarian anti-anthropocentric biocentrism as a basis for a new environmental ethic. I outline their “hands-off-nature” position and show it to be based on setting man apart. The ecosophic position is thus neither egalitarian nor fully biocentric. A fully egalitarian biocentric ethic would place no more restrictions on the behavior of human beings than on the behavior of any other animals. Uncontrolled human behavior might lead to the destruction ofthe environment and thus to the extinction of human beings. I thus conclude that human interest in survival is the best ground on which to argue for an ecological balance which is good both for human beings and for the whole biological community.