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Anthropocentrism, or “human centeredness,” has been a much-debated concept in environmental ethics and philosophy over the last few decades. It describes the belief that human concerns outweigh the needs of other species or that environmental preservation and conservation possess only instrumental value, meaning that no inherent demand for environmental protection exists beyond its potential to benefit human society. In opposition to such anthropocentric attitudes, early environmentalists such as John Muir and Aldo Leopold believed nature had intrinsic value, and they alternatively envisioned a biocentric ethics that would value the planetary biodiversity of flora and fauna equally with human civilization. Others have described the transition from anthropocentrism to a holistic ecocentrism, in which the totality of the ecosphere would have greater moral status than the part ...

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