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While ethics’ traditional concern has been with the duties among human beings, the emergence of environmental ethics has extended the scope of ethical inquiry beyond the level of human interaction, community, and nation to include nonhuman species and, in fact, the whole of nature. Fundamentally, environmental ethics has played an important part in challenging the historically dominant and deep-rooted anthropocentrism (human-centeredness) of conventional ethics. In other words, whereby the material condition for anthropocentric ethics is respect for persons, environmental ethics has begun to emphasize a respect for nature. The ethics of biocentrism, in particular, stipulates that all life forms are moral agents—entities that must be accorded moral consideration. An early proponent of this notion, Albert Schweitzer, for example, argued in 1923 that “all living beings ...

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