A PRAGMATIC ANALYSIS OF PAUL TAYLOR'S BIOCENTRISM
sapientia journal, edition cover
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Keywords

Biocentrism, Egalitarianism, Environmental Ethics, Paul Taylor, Pragmatism, Pollution, Non-anthropocentrism

Abstract

Contemporary societies in Africa (like the rest of the world) are increasingly facing drastic environmental problems which, in most cases, are a direct consequence of man's anthropocentric attitudes toward nature. Since the dawn of the twentieth century, multidisciplinary efforts to articulate a universal praxis for the environment have become frantic. In Philosophy, arguments in support of a paradigm shift led to the emergence of non-anthropocentric thoughts like Paul Taylor's respect to nature. He rejects anthropocentrism and advocates for equality and moral significance among different life forms irrespective of different interests. Thus his biocentrism is egalitarian, and essentially, an extension of inherent worth from humans to other life forms. He thinks this paradigm shift in the way man views and treats nature can solve the crises. The main objective of this paper was to ascertain the applicability of Taylor's theory. In this direction, a pragmatic approach was adopted. This methodology was preferred for its tendency of evaluating everything based on practicability. It was found that there were links between Taylor's thought and Kant's notion of respect for persons; and that biocentric egalitarianism marked a major shift from traditional ethics. Furthermore, the theory was found tenable in areas like strategic planning for attitudinal change, policy design, law, administration, environmental remediation, reparations and environmental justice; which are practical ways of quelling environmental crises. However, there were some conceptual, exegetical, and existential weaknesses within biocentric egalitarianism. The study concluded that biocentric egalitarianism is, in several ways, tenable in tackling contemporary environmental problems.

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