Anthropocentrism is the idea that humans alone possess inherent value and that other things may have value, but only in a functional, instrumental, material way – their usefulness to humans. Under this value system, animals are simply objects to utilise as we see fit, as food, resources and entertainment. This notion owes part of its origin and has been entrenched by the popular religions.
Biocentrism extends the moral realm to include all living things, both animals and plants. It is an understanding that humanity’s place in within nature, not above or outside of it. Biocentrism places emphasis on the connected nature of life, stressing the intrinsic worth of all living creatures.
As soon as one becomes aware of the notion of anthropocentrism, it then becomes horrifyingly apparent that most human relationships with nature are blinded by this assumption. Recognising this fact is the first step towards changing our collective attitude towards nature.
Animal Ethics (I) – Anthropocentrism vs Biocentrism