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Name of Article:
A Biocentrist Strikes Back 
Title of Book/Journal:
Environmental Ethics 
English Translation:
Publication Date:
Winter 1998     
Sterba, James P.
Issue: 4
Pages: 361    
Corporate Author:
EPA Number:
Other Number:
Biocentrists are criticized 1) for being biased in favor of the human species, 2) for basing their view on an ecology that is now widely challenged, and 3) for failing to reasonably distinguish the life that they claim has intrinsic value from the animate and inanimate things that they claim lack intrinsic value. In this paper, the author defends against these three criticisms, thus permitting biocentrists to justifiably appropriate the salutation, 'Let the life force (or better the ethical demands of life) be with you.' The modern environmental movement has a tradition of respect for indigenous cultures and many environmentalists believe that there are important ecological lessons to be learned from studying the traditional life styles of indigenous peoples. More recently, however, some environmentalists have become more sceptical. This scepticism has been sharpened by current concerns with the cause of indigenous rights. Indigenous peoples have repeatedly insisted on their rights to pursue traditional practices or to develop their lands, even when the exercise of these rights has implications in conflict with environmentalist values. These conflicts highlight some important questions in environmental ethics, particularly about the degree to which global environmental justice should be constrained by the recognition of indigenous rights. The author explores some of these issues and argues for the relevance of the 'capability approach' to environmental justice.

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