Anthropocentrism is the world view which sees human beings as being at the centre of all creation. It requires that the world be viewed from the perspective of humans; that is, it is to be valued, understood and utilized in terms of human needs. This includes not only the apparent inability of individuals to identify empathetically with other species and life-forms, namely to transcend human self-identification. This in itself seems to condone and encourage a reckless exploitative attitude. But humans also tend to assume, with both religious and scientific rationalizations, that the human species is naturally superior to other species and life-forms, and therefore has the right to dominate, control and use them for its own purposes as it sees fit.
It is not merely that the anthropocentrized world inclines its inhabitants toward excluding other possible views. Anthropocentrism also defines the terms according to which any alternative view might emerge, the expectations in terms of which it must be defended, and the sorts of persuasive appeals that it can make. It thus narrowly restricts the agenda for allowable challenge by marginalizing all other possibilities.
At a fundamental level it is impossible to escape some form of anthropocentrism. Although one cannot reduce ecological concern to human interests, it is to human interests that we must appeal to ensure the well-being of such ecological richness. But this limitation of having to appeal to human interest, an in-built anthropocentrism, is a paradoxical limitation, since it turns out to be a source of strength. For it is only as humans recognize an intrinsic integrity to nature that we discover our own true nature. To care for the environment is to realize ourselves.