Anthropocentrism: A Modern Version

Science  28 Mar 1975:
Vol. 187, Issue 4182, pp. 1168-1172
DOI: 10.1126/science.187.4182.1168


Anthropocentrism is proposed as a valid and necessary point of view for mankind to adopt for consideration of his place in nature. Our current ecological problems do not stem from an anthropocentric attitude per se, but from one too narrowly conceived. Anthropocentrism is consistent with a philosophy that affirms the essential interrelatedness of things and that values all items in nature since no event is without some effect on wholes of which we are parts. The ecological crisis is viewed as an inevitable crisis in human evolution. Through cultures knowledge becomes cumulative. A crisis occurs when our knowledge of nature, which determines our power to exploit nature, exceeds our knowledge of how to use knowledge for our own survival and for improvement in the quality of our lives. An anthropocentric belief in the value, meaningfulness, and creative potential of the human phenomenon is considered a necessary motivating factor to participatory evolution which, in turn, may be requisite to the future survival of the human species and its cultural values.