Humanism without human-centrism May 20, 2010 1:40 PM   Subscribe

Dear Metafilter, what's with all the human-centrism?

I hope this doesn't seem like overkill given the previous Talk thead (or worse, the wrong place to post this), but I ask this humbly and with the desire to learn more - do Mefites lean towards human-centrism? What are the ethical justifications of such a stance?

I'm fairly new here and loving it, but have already gotten into a couple of mild arguments about the ethicalness of human-centrism. One was in an argument about reproductive education to curb overpopulation (and address poverty), the other in the previously discussed thread about putting a dog down for being "human aggressive". The arguments were mild because this is where the other poster and I fundamentally disagreed: that human beings are better, greater, and can ethically exercise their power over other living things as long as those things aren't human.

More interestingly, in both arguments, someone pointed out that Metafilter is fairly human-centric (eg: from the dog post: AskMe doesn't respond to posts about dogs or biting well). So I figure this is a good place to ask how such a position is ethically justified. If you believe in it, please tell me why or point me to resources that will help me understand.

Because it's not like I believe in Jainism. I used to be a meat eater, and have done (and continue to do) my bit in harming lots of living beings in other ways as well. But even though it didn't bug me that much, I always considered it more as taking advantage of being a human as opposed to doing the right thing.

Please know - I am not asking for a debate on vegetarianism or animal cruelty; I am just asking people who truly believe that human beings are higher beings who can/should be morally okay with harming other beings (when it's not a question of survival or us vs. them) to share rational reasons for their belief.

PS: My beliefs might be at least partly attributed to the mythology of my culture, which is filled with sacred animals, animal gods and animal fables. Even though I am not and never was religious, and the place I live in is no less human-centric than any other (regardless of what religion dictates), this is just something I have always believed. If this is primarily a cultural thing, western resources that explain (if not justify) human-centrism would be much appreciated.
posted by mondaygreens to MetaFilter-Related at 1:40 PM (2 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:42 PM on May 20, 2010 [5 favorites]

Please take this up in the currently open MeTa thread. We've never had a policy on "not more than one MeTa per post" but I think we're about to.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:44 PM on May 20, 2010

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