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Personalism as a ground for moderate anthropocentrism

Book Contribution - Book Chapter Conference Contribution

One of the main characteristics of personalism is an emphasis on the exceptional position of humans in relation to animals and the environment. However, one could also argue that the personalist view of humans as connected entities should not only be interpreted as connectedness to other humans. More than ever, there are good reasons to also consider the bonds between humans and animals, and even the environment. This line of reasoning gives us a unique opportunity to value animals, and nature, without having to sacrifice the focus on humans. By that, personalism provides a realistic framework to engage with the pressing issues in animal and environmental ethics in the 21st century.One of the main problems with a classic anthropocentric ethic is that it tends to focus on short-term and narrow interpretations of human interests. That environmental problems can have an impact on humans is quite evident, but similar connections can also be found between animals and humans (individually and collectively). In 2015, even Pope Francis has alluded to this in Laudato Si’.Recognising the interconnectedness of all human and non-human life forms in the biosphere is a major step towards a personalism that awards dignity or intrinsic value to animals and the environment. Then, stewardship – another important concept – becomes important, but no longer only because of the importance of animals and the environment for humans.Following these arguments in depth, we are confronted with a moral framework that implies (or facilitates) fundamental changes in our mentality, not only for the animals and the environment themselves, but also because it is important for humans. A value and person based philosophy such as personalism guides us to a moderate anthropocentrism that allows for concrete steps forward for animals and the environment.
Book: Professionals in Food Chains: ethics, roles and responsibilities
Pages: 361 - 364
ISBN:9789086863211
Publication year:2018