The Human Prejudice and the Problem of Sustainability



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Tartu Ülikool


Chapter I will, using scientific research, explain the nature of the environmental crisis and show that it is indeed caused by what I refer to as the prevailing human culture. Key concepts used in this thesis will be defined (such as ecology and prevailing human culture). I will reject views that do not think the current human moral sensibility is the problem concerning the environment. Various opposition arguments will defend the current conservative moral boundary between humans and nature, including M. Sagoff’s artificialist proposal. Also, solutions in terms of a human-centered cost-benefit analysis along with the “Abrahamic” conception of human dominance over nature will be rejected. Chapter II will focus on the philosophical inadequacies of the human prejudice in all its forms. I will argue mainly against opponents who reject ‘humanism’ but wish to preserve some sort of human moral privilege or status. The chapter will address the ambiguity of the moral inclusion of being “human” to which D. McNaughton and P. Taylor provide talking points. I will reject B. Williams's concept of the human “us” thus arguing it is an irrational belief adopted by the prevailing human culture. Another opponent for this chapter is M. Bookchin who places a special status on humans based on the human capacity to value. I will also criticize Bookchin’s claims that “mystical” biocentric notions belittle and demonize human achievements. Chapter III will address the ethical and political consequences of internalizing a biocentric moral code and argue against those who believe the consequences are too steep. While they may seem costly to us that is only because we still have the mindset of the prevailing human culture which will not exist in future generations. Opponents in the chapter include consequentialists who argue there's more ‘good’ in maintaining the human prejudice, as well as all those who defend anthropocentric society. I will maintain that the core values defined in this thesis can be preserved and progressed without anthropocentrism.



sustainability, environmental crisis, human-centered ecology