I am reading a book in which the authors set forth the evils of belief in “The Great Chain of Being.”
The Great Chain of Being is, in fact, firmly ingrained in our culture and spirits. It leads to certain grave errors that are commonly acknowledged but difficult for teachers to correct.
The first of these is Anthropocentrism, “the view that man is the measure of all things.”
That man is the measure of all things can apparently be traced back to Protagoras. Please read at least the opening section in this article.
Back to the book:
…the Great Chain of Being is a view that considers human uniqueness qualitatively superior to that of other organisms, an idea with no scientific value.
This coming from scientists. It made me laugh. Further, they extol the virtues of nominalism. But what is nominalism if not the view that man is the measure of all things?
Does anthropocentrism really arise from a belief in a Great Chain of Being? I think it arises from looking at nature.
What’s wrong with anthropocentrism? Nothing. Is it a grave error? No.
Isn’t it self-refuting to teach students that humans are nothing special, or for that matter, to teach them science? Yes.
Is recognition of qualitative differences of no scientific value? I’m skeptical.