A defense of anthropocentrism as a viable ethic on animal treatment

Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Philosophy


College of Liberal Arts




Anthropocentrism or humancentered environmental ethic focuses on human beings response to what is happening in the environment. Moreover, it shows their attitude or the way they view themselves in relation to the environment and nonhuman animals. It takes different forms like an absolute belief that human beings are above the environment and the nonhuman beings living in it because they alone possess intrinsic value. Moreover, there is also a more subtle one like the idea that nonhuman beings have inherent value but incomparable to that of a human being. Hence, any act towards nonhuman beings is always justifiable provided that it promotes the interest of a human being. Environmental and animal ethicists do not make a conscious claim that they are indeed supporters of anthropocentrism. When they try to refute one anothers point of view, the accusation of being an anthropocentric as such is always taken into consideration. The labelling does not sound good especially to those who blame the destruction of the environment and animal cruelty to this ethical perspective. The topic of this paper is about anthropocentrism and the causes it can bring to the nonhuman realm. Its main objective is to prove that anthropocentrism, more specifically the weak form, is a viable environmental ethic to address certain animal issues in particular, animal treatment. It is important to show the role that the ethic of care plays in support to this claim. It is true that strong anthropocentrism could be held responsible to so many environmental destructions and sufferings that nonhuman beings are experiencing. However, if taken into a different context, it can actually be the solution to prevent cruelty to take place. In that regard, anthropocentrism is not destructive. Weak anthropocentrism, as manifested through the ethic of care, could lead to compassion and empathy. Through human beings interactions to nonhuman animals, the need to show humane treatment to the latter would be developed.

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Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

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