Anthropocentrism (from Greek: άνθρωπος, "anthropos", "human being"; and κέντρον, "kentron", "center"): "Anthropos" (the term, like “human”, refers to both men and women) meaning humans must be considered at the center of, and above any other aspect of reality Fact|date=January 2008


Anthropocentrism has been posited by some environmentalists, in such books as "Confessions of an Eco-Warrior" by Dave Foreman and "Green Rage" by Christopher Manes, as the underlying if unstated reason why humanity dominates and sees the need to "develop" most of the Earth. Anthropocentrism has been identified by these writers and others as a root cause of the ecological crisis, human overpopulation, and extinctions of many non-human species.

Anthropocentrism, or human-centredness, is believed by some to be the central problematic concept in environmental philosophy, where it is used to draw attention to a systematic bias in traditional Western attitudes to the non-human world (Naess 1973). Val Plumwood (1993, 1996) has argued that anthropocentrism plays an analogous role in green theory to androcentrism in feminist theory and ethnocentrism in anti-racist theory. Plumwood calls human-centredness "anthrocentrism" to emphasise this parallel.

Defenders of anthropocentrist views point out that maintenance of a healthy, sustainable environment is necessary for human well-being as opposed for its own sake. The problem with a "shallow" viewpoint is not that it is human centered but that according to William Grey (1993: 473) "What's wrong with shallow views is not their concern about the well-being of humans, but that they do not really consider enough in what that well-being consists. According to this view, we need to develop an enriched, fortified anthropocentric notion of human interest to replace the dominant short-term, sectional and self-regarding conception."

One of the first extended philosophical essays addressing environmental ethics, John Passmore's "Man's Responsibility for Nature" has been repeatedly criticised by defenders of deep ecology because of its anthropocentrism, often claimed to be constitutive of traditional Western moral thought (see Routley 1980).


Some evangelical Christians have also been critical, viewing a human-centered worldview, rather than a Christ-centered or God-centered worldview, as a core societal problem. According to this viewpoint, humanity placing its own desires ahead of the teachings of the Bible leads to rampant selfishness and behavior viewed as sinful.

The use of the word "dominion" in Genesis, where God purportedly gives man dominion over all creatures is controversial. SomeFact|date=September 2008 consider this to be a flawed translation of a word meaning "stewardship", but it persists as the most common translation. In the 1985 CBC series "A Planet For the Taking", Dr. David Suzuki explored the Old Testament roots of anthropocentrism and how it shaped how we view non-human animals. In "The Pale Blue Dot", author Dr. Carl Sagan also reflects on anthropocentrism. []


"Biocentrism" has been proposed as an antonym of anthropocentrism.


* Bertalanffy, General System Theory(1993): 239-48
* Grey, W. 1993. 'Anthropocentrism and Deep Ecology' "Australiasian Journal of Philosophy" 71: 463-475 []
* Naess, A. 1973. 'The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement' "Inquiry" 16: 95-100
* Passmore, J. 1974. "Man’s Responsibility for Nature" London: Duckworth
* Plumwood, V. 1993. "Feminism and the Mastery of Nature" London: Routledge
* Plumwood, V. 1996. 'Androcentrism and Anthrocentrism: Parallels and Politics.' "Ethics and the Environment" 1
* Routley, R. and V. 1980. 'Human Chauvinism and Environmental Ethics' in "Environmental Philosophy" (eds) D.S. Mannison, M. McRobbie and R. Routley. Canberra: ANU Research School of Social Sciences: 96-189
*White, Lynn Townsend, Jr, "The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis", "Science", Vol 155 (Number 3767), March 10, 1967, pp 1203-1207 (html copy [] )

ee also

* Anthropic principle
* Biocentrism
* Carbon chauvinism
* Deep Ecology
* Ecocentrism
* Ecofeminism
* Nationalism
* Pride
* Chauvinism
* Anthropocentric embodied energy analysis
* Existentialism
* Great Ape personhood
* Gynocentrism
* Human exceptionalism
* Speciesism
* Theocentricism
* Patriotism

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  • anthropocentrism — n. 1. 1 an inclination to evaluate reality exclusively in terms of human values. Syn: anthropocentricity. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • anthropocentrism — (n.) 1897; see ANTHROPOCENTRIC (Cf. anthropocentric) + ISM (Cf. ism) …   Etymology dictionary

  • anthropocentrism — noun see anthropocentric …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • anthropocentrism — /an threuh poh sen triz euhm/, n. an anthropocentric theory or view. [1905 10; ANTHROPOCENTR(IC) + ISM] * * * …   Universalium

  • anthropocentrism — noun ˌæn.θrə.poʊˈsɛn.trɪz.m A viewpoint or theory that places human beings at the center of something, giving preference to human beings above all other considerations …   Wiktionary

  • anthropocentrism — anthropocentric …   Philosophy dictionary

  • ANTHROPOCENTRISM —    traditional HUMANISM has followed PROTAGORAS in proclaiming man is the measure of all things. Recently the trendy view that such an outlook is wrong because it is anthropocentric has been expressed by some people in the ecology movement …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • anthropocentrism — n. view of man as the central element or purpose of the universe; view of reality solely in terms of human experience …   English contemporary dictionary

  • anthropocentrism —    The attitude that human beings are the central element in the universe. Also see androcentrism, Afrocentrism, ethnic, ethnocentrism, Eurocentrism, iconocentric, and xenophobia …   Glossary of Art Terms

  • Anthropocentrism — also called Homocentrism, is the practice, conscious or otherwise, of regarding the existence and/or concerns of human beings as the central fact of the universe. This is similar, but not identical, to the practice of relating all that happens in …   Mini philosophy glossary

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