Chapter

Dichotomy and Distortion: The Mutual Misunderstandings of Social Ecology and Ecocentrism

Mathew Humphrey

in Preservation Versus the People?

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780199242672
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599514 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199242674.003.0004
 Dichotomy and Distortion: The Mutual Misunderstandings of Social Ecology and Ecocentrism

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The ecocentric‐anthropocentric dichotomy is explored through the debate between social ecologists and ecocentrists. The critique of ecocentrism that comes from social ecology––that it is a thinly disguised form of misanthropy––is found to be based on a number of misrepresentations and misunderstandings of the ecocentric argument. Similarly, the counter‐critique––which argues that social ecology implies conscious control of the evolutionary process––is found to be similarly misguided. There are multiple ways of being humanist, in the sense in which ecologists use the term, and one can construct humanist arguments from either an ecocentric or anthropocentric starting point.

Keywords: anthropocentrism; ecocentrism; evolution; humanism; misanthropy; social ecology

Chapter.  18651 words. 

Subjects: Environment

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