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Alexander Lautensach   Dr.  University Lecturer 
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Alexander Lautensach published an article in November 2009.
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Article 0 Reads 1 Citation The Ethical Basis for Sustainable Human Security: A Place for Anthropocentrism? Alexander K. Lautensach Published: 10 November 2009
Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, doi: 10.1007/s11673-009-9200-3
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The deep and lasting changes to human behaviour that are required to address the global environmental crisis necessitate profound shifts in moral foundations. They amount to a change in what individuals and societies conceive of as progress. This imperative raises important questions about the justification, ends, and means of large-scale changes in people’s ethics. In this essay I will focus on the ends—the direction of moral change as prescribed by the goal of sustainable human flourishing. I shall present a meta-ethical critique of anthropocentrism and propose that only an ecocentric ethic can support the sustainable flourishing of humanity. This proposition does not necessarily contradict itself. My claim will be that the values subsumed under the broad concept of anthropocentrism are categorically counterproductive, informing an undesirable concept of “progress”. I support this claim with two lines of argument. On the one hand, the end values of anthropocentrism are shallow and the “flourishing of humanity” is ill-defined. The conceptual constraints of anthropocentrism itself preclude a more concise definition which would take into account the utter dependence of the flourishing of humanity on the health of ecological support structures. On the other hand, pursuing the values that inform the actions of anthropocentrists (which may be identical with the “flourishing of humanity”) leads to unintended and undesirable outcomes, even from the view of the anthropocentrist herself. Those problems are not encountered with an ecocentric ethic, and the conceptual steps necessary to adopt it are not insurmountable.