A CRITIQUE OF PAUL TAYLOR’S BIOCENTRIC EGALITARIANISMA
Contemporary societies have become bedevilled by environmental problems like drastic climatic change, health problems, and the loss of land, habitats, and wildlife. In most places these problems are a direct consequence of man’s exploitation of nature. Since it is arguable that attitudes influence action, the hitherto unquestioning dependence on anthropocentrism as a guide to the man–nature relationship may be blamed for these environmental crises. The realization that there was a need for a shift in paradigm witnessed the emergence of the non-anthropocentric thought of which Paul Taylor’s biocentric egalitarianism is part. He rejects anthropocentrism and advocates for equality and moral significance among different life forms irrespective of different interests. Thus his respect for nature is essentially an extension of inherent worth from humans to other life forms. He believes this shift in the way man views and treats nature can solve the problem. The main objective of this study was to critique Taylor’s theory. In this direction, the historical, expository and evaluative approaches were adopted. The historical approach was employed to situate Taylor’s theory within the context and tradition of environmental philosophy; the expository approach enabled a detailed examination of biocentric egalitarianism; and the evaluative approach was used to gauge the practical tenability of the theory. Data were sourced from books and journals. The study found that:- (i) There were links between Taylor’s thought and Kant’s notion of respect for persons as well as the thoughts of other environmental philosophers. (ii) biocentric egalitarianism was a major shift from traditional ethics specifically because it extended the bounds of moral significance from humans to other living things. (iii) The theory was tenable in areas like strategic planning for attitudinal change, policy design, law, administration, environmental remediation, reparations and environmental justice which are practical ways of quelling environmental problems. (iv)There were some conceptual, exegetical, and existential weaknesses within biocentric egalitarianism. The study concluded that biocentric egalitarianism is, in several ways, tenable in tackling environmental problems.
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