Ecocentrism and Ecological Modeling

Steverson, Brian K.
Environmental Ethics Vol. 16/1 (1994), pages 71-88

Typical of ecocentric approaches such as the land ethic and the deep ecology movement is the use of concepts from ecological science to create an “ecoholistic” ontological foundation from which a strong environmental ethic is generated. Crucial to ecocentric theories is the assumption that ecological science has shown that humanity and nonhuman nature are essentially integrated into communal or communal-like arrangements. In this essay, I challenge the adequacy of that claim. I argue that for the most part the claim is false, and that, if it were true, it would overextend the sphere of morally considerable entities to include entities that are implausibly deserving of moral consideration. In either case, the foundation of ecocentrism is significantly weakened.