At the Centre of What? A Critical Note on the Centrism-Terminology in Environmental Ethics

Environmental Values 22 (5):627-645 (2013)
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The distinction between anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric theories, together with the more fine-grained distinction between anthropocentrism, biocentrism and ecocentrism, are probably two of the most frequently occurring distinctions in the environmental ethics literature. In this essay I draw attention to some problematic aspects of the terminology used to draw these distinctions: the ‘centrism-terminology’. I argue that this terminology is ambiguous and misleading, and therefore confusing. Furthermore, depending on which interpretation it is given, it is also either asymmetric and non-inclusive, or superfluous. Although I find it unlikely that the centrism-terminology will be abandoned, I end the essay by providing a suggestion for an alternative way to categorise theories in environmental ethics.



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Lars Samuelsson
Umeå University

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