The Importance Of Biocentrism In Society

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After a three year old boy fell into the gorilla encloser at the Cincinnati Zoo, a gorilla grabbed ahold of the boy and dragged him through the water. The gorilla was shot by zoo keepers in order to rescue the boy who was not seriously injured. The gorilla, Harambe, was a western lowland gorilla which is a critically endangered species. Animal rights groups are pressing for an investigation of the zoo because they claim the zoo violated the Animal Welfare Act (Dodley). Was killing the gorilla to the save the boy’s life the right thing to do? This question addresses the ethics code a person applies to different species. There are many ideologies regarding how to approach the issue of environmental ethics. One dominant theory is that of biocentrism. …show more content…
Taylor supports the theory of biocentrism. The ultimate moral attitude of respect for nature provides the only way to give nature inherent worth while having concern for a being’s good (199). By viewing humans as part of Earth’s heavily interconnected ecosystem (206), humans will be disregarded as a superior species (212). The comparison between the attitude of respect for humans and nature supports Taylor’s life-centered views. Society has come to value humans as equal with no hierarchical favors placed on social standing, race, etc. (214). Taylor expands the egalitarian view of human equality to other species (215). The devaluation of nonhuman values is described as an “arbitrary claim” and “an irrational bias in our own favor” (216). The view of species impartiality leads to a respect for nature which gives humans moral responsibilities towards nature …show more content…
In “Are All Species Equal?” author David Schmidtz provides the ability to maintain a respect for nature while rejecting species egalitarianism in biocentrism (58). Schmidtz’s point is that all species do not need to command the same respect in order for humans to show respect for other species: “We can have reasons to treat nonhuman species with respect, regardless of whether we consider them to be on a moral par with homo sapiens” (62). By disregarding characteristics that make certain species superior to others, biocentrism is an arbitrary classification (59). Giving superiority to certain species does not mean losing respect for other species, but it recognizes the difference in need and vulnerability of all species (60-61). This method of evaluating the difference between species allows for care to be given to a species based on their individual needs. The individualized care giving enhances Taylor’s ideology of respect for nature while eliminating the need for species egalitarianism. This provides a justification for prioritizing human moral values in

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