Anything about anthropocentrism

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,623
Florania
Anthropocentrism has been a part of our thinking ever since the development of our civilizations, and it has been taken for granted.
Humans are exceptional amongst the animalia for the intelligence and ability to build civilizations.
On the other hand, we have neglected the well-beings of other beings until quite recently.
The danger of anthropocentrism is the abuse of the environment for human gains.
What are your opinions about anthropocentrism?
 

Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
2,968
MD, USA
Um, how about, It's our ****ing planet and we'll do what we want with it.

A little extreme, sure, but mankind has gotten to where it is by USE of the world's animals and resources. All animals take what they need from their environment, and leave their waste products and discarded homes, feathers, skins, etc. behind them. On a basic level, humans are no different in that regard.

The big difference is that we CAN care more about our surroundings, and have long since learned how to deal with much of our refuse, plant immense numbers of trees and other plants, and care for other animals.

We've also learned that you don't have to drive a whole herd of buffalo over a cliff to get the meat and hides you need. It's really hard for me to blame our ancestors for being wasteful, since they simply had no way to know about limited resources or pollution or other consequences. And in fact they certainly knew about local pollution, like not drinking dirty water, or not living next door to the tannery. And they excelled at using materials to their fullest extent, with as little waste as possible. That simply saved them money, it's no like there was much danger of any resource simply running out.

So I bristle a little at the term "abuse of the environment". We live here, and we're going to adapt it and use it and change it. No way around it. Be glad we now can take measures to prevent it from being completely unlivable! And that we've been able to cut pollution and energy use per capita dramatically over the past few decades. There is certainly still room for improvement, but we're getting there, and it's the modern Western world which has been leading that movement. Rejoice!

Matthew
 
Oct 2016
238
GB
Um, how about, It's our ****ing planet and we'll do what we want with it.

A little extreme, sure, but mankind has gotten to where it is by USE of the world's animals and resources. All animals take what they need from their environment, and leave their waste products and discarded homes, feathers, skins, etc. behind them. On a basic level, humans are no different in that regard.

The big difference is that we CAN care more about our surroundings, and have long since learned how to deal with much of our refuse, plant immense numbers of trees and other plants, and care for other animals.

We've also learned that you don't have to drive a whole herd of buffalo over a cliff to get the meat and hides you need. It's really hard for me to blame our ancestors for being wasteful, since they simply had no way to know about limited resources or pollution or other consequences. And in fact they certainly knew about local pollution, like not drinking dirty water, or not living next door to the tannery. And they excelled at using materials to their fullest extent, with as little waste as possible. That simply saved them money, it's no like there was much danger of any resource simply running out.

So I bristle a little at the term "abuse of the environment". We live here, and we're going to adapt it and use it and change it. No way around it. Be glad we now can take measures to prevent it from being completely unlivable! And that we've been able to cut pollution and energy use per capita dramatically over the past few decades. There is certainly still room for improvement, but we're getting there, and it's the modern Western world which has been leading that movement. Rejoice!

Matthew
Must admit that first line made me chuckle.

Sent from my victara using Tapatalk
 
Jan 2013
638
Anthropocentrism has been a part of our thinking ever since the development of our civilizations, and it has been taken for granted.
Humans are exceptional amongst the animalia for the intelligence and ability to build civilizations.
On the other hand, we have neglected the well-beings of other beings until quite recently.
The danger of anthropocentrism is the abuse of the environment for human gains.
What are your opinions about anthropocentrism?
I don't think abuse of the environment has any link to anthropocentrism. Other animals will be quite happy if we destroy the environment until it is totally unliveable. We will drive ourselves to extinction, and then after a couple of hundred thousand years everything will be back to how it was before human civilisation. Yes, we are currently causing a borderline mass extinction, but on a geological timescale, the world goes through periodic mass extinctions and recovers from them perfectly well, so really, we are not capable of completely destroying the planet, any moreso than happened at the end of the Permian and Cretaceous periods. It's only ourselves that we will destroy.

Besides, if we were truly anthropocentric we would pay a little more attention to the environment, since it's ourselves and our descendants who we are harming by destroying it. The problem is not anthropocentrism, it's short-sightedness and selfishness such that we don't even care about other human beings, never mind nature.

The real problem of anthropocentrism is animal welfare. We believe that animals were put here in order to be used as natural resources, we don't see them as living beings (well, most of us). This is demonstrably absurd: why should anyone care about other human beings if they don't care about animal suffering? By all means, feel free to think that animal suffering is unimportant, but don't then try to claim that you care about human suffering on any rational level. Humans are animals, after all, perhaps we have a slightly enhanced capability to suffer due to our greater understanding of the world around us and our more developed emotions, but that doesn't mean we have a monopoly on all suffering.
 
Last edited:

Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
2,968
MD, USA
The real problem of anthropocentrism is animal welfare. We believe that animals were put here in order to be used as natural resources, we don't see them as living beings (well, most of us). This is demonstrably absurd: why should anyone care about other human beings if they don't care about animal suffering? By all means, feel free to think that animal suffering is unimportant, but don't then try to claim that you care about human suffering on any rational level. Humans are animals, after all, perhaps we have a slightly enhanced capability to suffer due to our greater understanding of the world around us and our more developed emotions, but that doesn't mean we have a monopoly on all suffering.
Completely ridiculous. I can care very much about humans, thank you very much, and still feel that domestic animals exist to serve and be eaten. No, I do NOT think they should be mistreated or tortured or caused any unnecessary distress! But I DO support well-regulated scientific testing on animals--it simply improves the human condition. Trying to lump humans and other animals together and saying that we CAN'T care about one without caring about the other is a logical fallacy and a non-sequitor.

Matthew
 
Apr 2016
1,646
United Kingdom
Humans are animals, which are better at the universe's relentless game of lethal contest than anything else in our practical neighbourhood. I don't see why we should be made to feel guilty about that - unless said guilt somehow benefits us - because it's just the way the planet and the entire natural world seem to want it.
 
Jun 2016
1,863
England, 200 yards from Wales
Completely ridiculous. I can care very much about humans, thank you very much, and still feel that domestic animals exist to serve and be eaten. No, I do NOT think they should be mistreated or tortured or caused any unnecessary distress! But I DO support well-regulated scientific testing on animals--it simply improves the human condition. Trying to lump humans and other animals together and saying that we CAN'T care about one without caring about the other is a logical fallacy and a non-sequitor.

Matthew
Well, I suppose all animals, including us, really exist to reproduce, that's evolution. Sure we use some as food or otherwise, but is that really why they exist?
Maybe the point was not can we care about people without caring about other animals, but rather do we care about suffering, which is a thing not uniquely human?
Testing on animals for real, original, research that may reduce suffering is one thing, but to think we could justify causing even slight suffering to an animal to test cosmetics or cleaning products does seem a sort of species' arrogance -"our mere convenience or vanity is more important than your pain".

As has been said if all the intermediate forms between humans and chimps and the common ancestor still existed how could we draw that clear line between us and them?
 
Jan 2013
638
Completely ridiculous. I can care very much about humans, thank you very much, and still feel that domestic animals exist to serve and be eaten.
Only if you admit that your start and end point for morality is that 'humans have inherent worth, animals are inherently worthless'. Why do humans have inherent worth? Because they are humans, and humans have inherent worth. This is circular logic and is not a tenable position. As I have explained, there are no physiological differences between animals and humans that are relevant to this discussion, except differences of degree. Humans have advanced intelligence, humans have advanced capacity to suffer, humans have advanced sense of dignity and self-awareness.

If you have any non-physiological reason for why humans are inherently superior to animals, I would like to hear it. If it is not a vague abstract concept with no rational basis in empirical reality, then I will contragulate you heartily on outsmarting all of history's greatest moral philosophers. Besides, nearly all such arguments fall down after the consideration of marginal cases.

"The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may one day come to be recognised that the number of the legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog, is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month, old.

But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail? the question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being? The time will come when humanity will extend its mantle over everything which breathes..." - Jeremy Bentham

No, I do NOT think they should be mistreated or tortured or caused any unnecessary distress! But I DO support well-regulated scientific testing on animals--it simply improves the human condition. Trying to lump humans and other animals together and saying that we CAN'T care about one without caring about the other is a logical fallacy and a non-sequitor.

Matthew
No, what you are saying is a logical fallacy and a non sequitur. There is simply no valid philosophical argument for separating humans from animals in ethical terms, unless you are religious, in which case it is a theological argument.

Humans are animals, which are better at the universe's relentless game of lethal contest than anything else in our practical neighbourhood. I don't see why we should be made to feel guilty about that - unless said guilt somehow benefits us - because it's just the way the planet and the entire natural world seem to want it.
The 'natural world' is an abstract concept invented to explain the world around us. It's not a personality, it's not an intelligent entity, and unless you are religious, it cannot be said to 'want' anything, or signal any kind of moral lesson, or justify any kind of human action. We must decide for ourselves what is right and what is wrong, the natural world has nothing to teach us in this regard because it is amoral. You might say that the universe is inherently amoral and that morality is a human construct which has no objective justification at all. And you'd be correct.

However, that begs the question: do you personally actually think of anything as 'right' and 'wrong', or do you only observe right and wrong because it is socially and culturally demanded of you? Is it 'wrong' to commit murder, or is it just practical to submit to the law against murder? Most people are not psychopaths, and do genuinely believe in good and evil, and that they are morally obliged to do good and not to do evil. But surely, if that is the case, you must have some kind of justification for what you consider to be right and wrong?

In reality of course, most people don't think about why they do what they do, they just lazily accept the customs and beliefs given to them by their parents and peers, and indeed their evolutionary instincts. It's easier this way, since it avoids having to deal with the obvious fact that many of our customs and beliefs are staggeringly illogical. Psychopaths have an easier time of it, of course: they're perfectly fine living in a world of 'might is right'. The rest of us have to try not to think about these things in order to avoid the crippling cognitive dissonance it causes.
 

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,630
Um, how about, It's our ****ing planet and we'll do what we want with it.
That is an attitude that thus far has not worked out too well, with mass extinctions left in our wake, massive deforestation of rainforests (collectively they produce about 20% of the Earth's oxygen), melting ice caps, and rising sea levels that are sure to cause a refugee crisis and cost governments a fortune protecting coastal cities.

Humanity may be the master of the planet, but it could also do a better job of taking care of the planet it has inherited.
 

Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
2,968
MD, USA
Well, I suppose all animals, including us, really exist to reproduce, that's evolution. Sure we use some as food or otherwise, but is that really why they exist?
Certainly! Almost all the meat you can buy in the typical grocery store is from animals specifically bred and raised to be meat! They would literally not have existed otherwise. Fish are different, but any fishing industry that wants to survive will manage its fishing so as not to wipe out the fish, eh? And yes, you can also get meat from wild animals, but that doesn't feed most of the population.

Testing on animals for real, original, research that may reduce suffering is one thing, but to think we could justify causing even slight suffering to an animal to test cosmetics or cleaning products does seem a sort of species' arrogance -"our mere convenience or vanity is more important than your pain".
Frankly, yes, that's what it comes down to. Don't get me wrong, if there is an alternative to animal testing, I'm all for it! And I also do not equate cosmetics with cleaning products. Effective cleaning is a survival trait, these days.

As has been said if all the intermediate forms between humans and chimps and the common ancestor still existed how could we draw that clear line between us and them?
I couldn't! And I actually would not say that much of this is clear or black and white. Except that it IS homo sapiens on top, right now. Either because God put us there, or because we clawed our way to the top and can lick any species on the planet. That we choose to *help* so many other species should be a point in our favor, don't you think?

Matthew