chapter  6
Ethics of Life
Pages 45

Biocentric means “life-centered.” Ethical biocentrism is the view that all living things are morally considerable. Sometimes the term “living things” is taken to denote only individual organisms, in which case the biocentrism is individualistic. Individualistic biocentrists thus hold that only individual organisms are morally considerable and that groups of organisms are morally considerable only insofar as the members of those groups are. But, largely under the influence of ecological thinking, some biocentrists include among living things such aggregate entities as colonies or populations of organisms, species, ecosystems, or even the entire biosphere. These forms of biocentrism are said to be holistic. Holistic biocentrists hold that some biological aggregates, such as species or ecosystems, have moral considerability beyond the total moral considerability of their members. Holistic views that emphasize protection of ecosystems are called ecocentric.