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The View From Somewhere: Anthropocentrism In Metaethics

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Chapter Summary

Anthropocentrism is a normative concept that embodies or expresses, whether implicitly or explicitly, a set of beliefs or attitudes that privilege some aspect(s) of human experience, perspective or valuation. A fundamental division within metaethics can be framed as a debate concerning the role that anthropocentrism plays in our understanding of morality. The ethical treatment of animals in Pythagoras is therefore quite consistent with ethical anthropocentrism. For the 'animals' that are being well-treated are simply not viewed as non-humans in the first place. The position of perspectival moral realism defended above would be purely academic if it represented merely an abstract possibility, inaccessible and insensitive to real life and real people. This chapter argues that philosophical Daoism, specifically the text of the Zhuangzi, represents an actual, historical 'live-option' for perspectival moral realism.

Keywords: anthropocentrism; humans; metaethics; non-human animals; Zhuangzi



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