Kheper Home | Sentientism Home | Topics Index | New | Search

Parent node: Sentientism

Sibling nodes: Anthropocentrism


Speciesism is related to Anthropocentrism, but is perhaps a more precise term. Anthropocentrism meanings putting humans or human consciousness at the center of the universe, whether morally/ethically, philosophically, religiously, scientifically (in which cases sometimes human is taken to mean conscious observer - e.g. Wikipedia link Anthropic Principle), etc. Anthropocentrism doesn't have to be the same as Speciesism, any more than Eurocenterism is the same as 19th century colonialism or racism. Nevertheless, Anthropocentrism frequently does lead to, and involve, Speciesism. The following account Wikipedia link is from Wikipedia, which I quote out of laziness and also because I don't have time at the moment to indeependently research and write in detail on every subject in the web of associations that make up the new improved (late 2009 onwards) Kheper website:

Speciesism is the assigning of different values or rights to beings on the basis of their species membership. The term was created by British psychologist Richard D. Ryder in 1973 to denote a prejudice against non-humans based on morally irrelevant physical differences.[1] "I use the word 'speciesism'," he wrote in 1975, "to describe the widespread discrimination that is practised by man against other species ... Speciesism and racism both overlook or underestimate the similarities between the discriminator and those discriminated against."[2]

The term is mostly used by animal rights advocates, who argue that it is irrational or morally wrong to regard sentient beings as objects or property. Philosopher Tom Regan argues that all animals have inherent rights and that we cannot assign them a lesser value because of a perceived lack of rationality, while assigning a higher value to infants and the mentally impaired solely on the grounds of being members of a specific species. Peter Singer's philosophical arguments against speciesism are based on the principle of equal consideration of interests. Some philosophers and scientists argue that speciesism is an acceptable position as a form of human supremacy.


Ryder, Richard D. Victims of Science: The Use of Animals in Research. Davis-Poynter, 1975.

--- external link "All beings that feel pain deserve human rights: Equality of the species is the logical conclusion of post-Darwin morality." The Guardian, 6 August 2005.


[1] Ryder, Richard. "All beings that feel pain deserve human rights", The Guardian, August 6 2005.

[2] Ryder 1975, p. 16. Thirty years later, Ryder later wrote that he prefers the word "painient." In a piece for The Guardian in 2005, entitled, "All beings that feel pain deserve human rights", he wrote, "Our concern for the pain and distress of others should be extended to any 'painient'—pain-feeling—being regardless of his or her sex, class, race, religion, nationality or species. Indeed, if aliens from outer space turn out to be painient, or if we ever manufacture machines who are painient, then we must widen the moral circle to include them. Painience is the only convincing basis for attributing rights or, indeed, interests to others" (Ryder 2005).

Kheper index page
Topics index page
Sentientism Home

Kheper Home | Sentientism Home | Topics Index | New | Search

images not loading? | error messages? | broken links? | suggestions? | criticism?

contact me

page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 10 November 2009