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human chauvinism


Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


Extract

E thics A term introduced by Val Routley and Richard Routley, referring to the traditional anthropocentrism existing in Western culture, according to which human beings are the only subjects of moral consideration and are the only objects with intrinsic values. Non-human species are not entitled to membership of the moral community , and they have value only insofar as they are instrumental to human interests or purposes. The ground for supporting this attitude is the belief that the human species has special characteristics, such as reason , which make it superior to other species. Human chauvinism, which is also called speciesism by other authors, is the target of criticism of environmental ethics . On this view, human beings should change their moral consciousness toward animals and include them in the moral community in certain ways. “Western ethics still appears to retain, as its very heart, a fundamental form of chauvinism, namely, human chauvinism. For both popular Western thought and most Western ethical theories assume that both value and morality can ultimately be reduced to matters of interest or concern to the class of humans.” Routley and Routley, “Against the Inevitability of Human Chauvinism,” in Goodpaster and Sayre (eds.), Ethical Problems of the 21st Century ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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