Here are my beginning definitions of anthropocentrism, biocentrism, and ecocentrism. Later in the semester I will do a large post on each with. To that, they counterpose what is variously called biocentrism or ecocentrism – the view that all living things have the same or similar intrinsic. This could explain why biocentrism and anthropocentrism are sometimes found to overlap Ecocentric and anthropocentric attitudes toward the environment.
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The worldview someone has can have a major influence on how they deal with bioethical dilemmas. In the recent years, people have started to regret their selfish actions towards nature, and various international policies have been debated in order to protect and conserve the environment, for a sustainable future.
Persons living in urban cities and rural villages are often thought to have a different image towards nature.
It may apply not only in Japan but also to all the large cities of the world. We could imagine that children, who grow anthropodentrism in the environment of tall buildings, asphalt, and traffic-jams, have rare opportunities to feel nature. Of course “nature” is a very vague and convenient word. Considering the above points, environmental education plays an important role in developing the minds of children.
Kaneo Inoue, a high school ethics and social studies teacher in Japan has pointed out that the current Japanese environmental education system has serious problems in enlightening the awareness of high school students. When it comes to ethics, the lecture focuses on the “co-existence of humans and nature” or “ethical self consciousness in preserving the environment”. The present environment education lacks coordination between the subjects, which causes some high school students to become very pessimistic towards human activities.
In this renewed educational guideline, one of the attractive point is anthrooocentrism establishment of “integrative learning” classes. This new class was founded in order to allow each school to approach in their own original way, multidisciplinary subjects such as: Still there have been worries and doubts over whether the activity will be truly interdisciplinary. The reason behind this anxiety lies in the insufficient training of present teachers.
In reality, for subjects such as information and environment, science teachers are bbiocentrism put in the situation to take care of class attendance, and the basic idea of interrelationship between teachers of different subjects has been forgotten to some extent.
Despite the interest in the subject of bioethics education, and consensus on the need, the appropriate analysis methodology and the answers to questions like “can bioethics be taught” are elusive and varied. In order to examine these questions, analysis of the homework that students gave in the bioethics classes of Darryl Macer, sincein the University of Tsukuba in Japan has been conducted. This paper describes the ideas and thoughts expressed in student reports, and how these reveal their worldview.
The categories of report titles given in the class in the past 11 years atnhropocentrism Within these, anthropocentric and ecocentric views shown by the students in reports on selected topics including GM foods, animal rights and experiments, scientific responsibility, and patenting of biotechnology were explored. In this paper we focus on the results from the topic of GM foods. Table 1 shows the year that the reports were assigned, each report title, and the bioceentrism of reports submitted.
Students who submitted the reports were mainly biology major students in their 2nd or 3rd year at university.
Breaking down biocentrism: two distinct forms of moral concern for nature
Before each class, students were given some materials to read, and the discussions in class were based ecocwntrism those materials. The main information source were scientific journals and occasionally, international policy papers.
Table 2 shows the categorization of ideas expressed in each student papers. In the end, three main ideas were identified. It has been suggested from previous studies using similar samples that the report title and class materials have some effect on the opinion the students express through reports. In this table, the ideas mentioned in the handout are marked with circles. It is difficult to differentiate from genuinely original ideas from those influenced by the class materials and teaching.
However, this uncertainty is true for any kind of opinion or ideas expressed by the students. Information is abundant in Japan. Media reports through newspapers, television, and radio construct the minds of the receivers to some extent. The availability of appropriate information was shown to be of great interest independent to the report title. For example, “There must be both data that supports the safety of GM food and data that reveals the risk”, “Data is only a result which is obtained ecocenrtism experiments.
Information is made from the data. By how we regard the data, information will change. It is important to see the data from a scientific viewpoint. Together with this result, a few students mentioned the media’s responsibility in sensationalizing the topic. For example, “Media is the only resource of data the public can get and it should have a role to pass on the data more easily.
We need to continue to ecocentrjsm attention to the media. They use in their program, specialists who have negative ideas, and positive ideas are less frequent. They exaggerate the possibility of allergies, but never exaggerate the need of GM foods or why GM foods were invented.
Similar proportion of students question the scientists’ and industry’s responsibility. Furthermore, the media must tell it precisely. For example, “I hope for an institution we can trust”, “I think society regards the audit of the group standing in higher society to be more reliable than the conclusion by one researcher.
But the unit forming the group standing in high society is an individual. There is much corruption and suspicion, so we cannot say that the opinion of the group standing high in society is absolutely correct. Concerns about the direct effect of GM food on human health were not mentioned as such.
Still, this was the underlying risk perception. In the b report, only 3 students out of 27 mentioned the influence of GMs to the environment. It is interesting to see that most of the students argued for safety tests for the human’s sake, which takes for granted that the tests should be done on animals, then to humans who can volunteer. In other years, more students mentioned their concern about the environment such as “As genetic modification can change the property of the organisms more rapidly than breeding, the organisms genetically modified will affect the ecosystem more than the ones that are bred.
When we modify the crops genetically, we have to consider the safety not only of humans but also of other creatures. We should eat natural foods, and we should not modify organisms”. Some students like to mention every position’s rights, while others prefer to argue from utilitarian views. Many students seem to feel that if it is properly used, technology is a useful tool for human society. This is however a big conflict when seen from an ecocentric view, whether it is beneficial for the natural habitat of a certain species, or even for the earth as a whole.
Some students use the word “nature” or “natural”, but the definition of “nature” or “natural” is very vague, and may vary between different people.
It is interesting to see that maybe because the students were mostly biology major students, that the term “ecosystem” or “environment” seemed more frequently used.
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It would be interesting to further investigate whether students from different study areas express in different language, or show different tendencies towards issues of environment and bioethics as a whole. I would like to argue that the present situation on earth has been caused by anthropocentrism and human ego, to pursue human convenience and materialistic richness. We have been neglecting the fact that human life itself depends on other living organisms that constructs earth.
Now that we have started to realize that the human future will not be too bright, if we continue to use up whatever material is available, it is important to raise the awareness of every person to what the consequences of their actions will be. From the results of this research, it can be said that even for biology students, the main purpose and concern of genetically modified foods was on humans.
The heat of the media report on GM was in its peak in the years andbut this has gone quiet. The trend now in the supermarkets is to sell products that are labeled “This food does not contain genetically modified Soya” for example. Though it is questionable whether this choice was the result of public understanding. The market tends to select the safer road, in this case the magic word “non-GM” appeared reflecting the fact that there was no strong voice supporting the direct benefit of GM food.
The students, too address the food shortage in the developing countries, especially when given materials mentioning this, but this still is indirect, being in a country having abundant food supplies whether they are imported or not.
Bioethics education should not be propaganda to force evocentrism to think in a uniform manner, may it be the position taken by the local government, international organizations, or a specific philosopher Macer et al.
Rather, it is an opportunity to present different aspects around various bioethical dilemmas. Decision-making may not always be biocenfrism.
We are always influenced by the society surrounding us, and also each individual is influencing the society; the gathering of individuals. Eubios Ethics Institute, Lessons from Japan and Asia”, in pp.