Paul Taylor's Respect for Nature: Human Superiority Essay

Paul Taylor's Respect for Nature: Human Superiority Essay

Length: 877 words (2.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In Respect for Nature, Paul Taylor develops the following four elements of the biocentric outlook on nature:
1. Humans are members of the Earth's community of life in the same sense and on the same terms as other living things.
2. The natural world is an interdependent system.
3. Each organism is a Teleological Center of Life (TCL) with a good of its own.
4. Humans are not inherently superior to other living things.

Taylor believes that if one concedes and accepts the first three components then acceptance of the fourth component is not unreasonable. He also suggests that in order to adopt the attitude of respect for nature one must accept all four elements of the biocentric outlook. “Once we reject the claim that humans are superior either in merit or in worth to other living things, we are ready to adopt the attitude of respect. The denial of human superiority is itself the result of taking the perspective on nature built into the first three elements of the biocentric outlook” (Taylor 153). This is where Taylor is mistaken. I will argue in the subsequent paper that humans, as a condition of moral agency, are superior to other living things and that one does not need to accept Taylor’s fourth element in order to adopt the attitude of respect for nature.
Most would agree with Taylor’s first two elements of the biocentric outlook on nature. The first element it is undeniably true; humans are indeed members of Earth’s community. Taylor pushes this further and asserts that humans are non-privileged members of the earth’s community of life. Humans, just like all other living organisms, have biological requirements to live. Moreover, “[w]e, as they, are vulnerable. We share with them an inability to guarantee the f...

... middle of paper ...

...r nature and this requires that one recognize the equal inherent worth of all TCL’s (element three). Moreover, it is moral agency which allows for one to adopt the attitude of respect for nature. No other organism (TCL) can adopt the attitude of respect for nature.
Therefore, it is because of our moral duty to all other TCL’s that humans are superior to all other Teleological Centers of Life. Only humans, because of moral agency, are capable of recognizing that all TCL’s have a good of their own. Organisms that lack moral agency cannot understand or appreciate the inherent worth of other beings. As a result, they cannot adopt the attitude of respect for nature. It would be incomprehensible for a plant to understand what is good for a human. Likewise, to believe that a tree or blade of grass can respect nature in the same capacity as a human is ridiculous.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Purtian Men and Women in Edward Taylor and Anne Bradstreet Essay

- Purtian Men and Women in Edward Taylor and Anne Bradstreet Crossing the Atlantic, Puritans faced not only the physical hardships of an uncultivated land, but also difficulties within the structure of their religion. In "The Puritan Dilemma," Edmund Morgan details the contradicting tenets of Puritanism. Puritans were to seek salvation even though they were “helpless to do anything but evil”; they were to rely entirely on Christ for salvation even though salvation was only possible if preordained by God (7)....   [tags: Edward Taylor Bradstreet Puritan Gender Essays]

Better Essays
1180 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Race: A Philosophical Introduction by Paul Taylor

- Race-thinking: what is it. Isn’t the world past the issue of race. Do races even exist and if so, what does it mean to have a racial identity. Is colorblindness possible and how important is it. These are the questions Paul Taylor addresses in the book “Race: A Philosophical Introduction”. Paul Taylor is a self-proclaimed “radical constructionist” who will maintain that race is very real in our world and in the United States as a whole (p. 80). Taylor takes care to ensure he addresses the real needs concerning racial dynamics in the U.S., referencing historical events, prevailing policy affairs, and even pop culture to explain that everyone capable of forming opinions ought to have some sort...   [tags: race theory, class, ethnicity]

Better Essays
1345 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Race: A Philosophical Introduction by Paul Taylor

- The last chapter of the text varies depending on which edition is read. After buying the second edition I was able to acquire a copy of the first. The last chapters were an interesting correlation to the periods in which they were published, though they are both similar. After the 2008 election, Taylor rewrote the last chapter of the text to reflect the new conversation brought about with the election of our first black president. In the first edition, chapter six undertakes how race affects the increasingly prevalent topic of immigration and globalization in the United States (among various other things)....   [tags: ethnic politics, globalization, immigration]

Better Essays
861 words (2.5 pages)

Analysis Of Kubla Khan By Samuel Taylor Coleridge Essay

- During a time period where an individual 's principles were considered as important as their social class, creators could voice their frustrations through their art. This happened to be the case for Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a famous poet from the 19th century. At this point in history, the social hierarchy divided people in regards to wealth and education level which created an environment where a person’s status in society made up a large part of their identity. The other part would come from their morals and beliefs, such as how they viewed humanity, religion, science, and nature....   [tags: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Romanticism, Kubla Khan]

Better Essays
948 words (2.7 pages)

God's Forgiveness in Taylor's Meditation 42 Essay

- In Edward Taylor's "Meditation 42," the speaker employs a tone of both desire and anxiousness in order to convey the overall idea that man's sinful nature and spiritual unworthiness require God's grace and forgiveness to gain entrance to the kingdom of heaven. In the opening stanza, the speaker describes the human craving and longing for material objects. From the very first word of "Meditation 42," a sense of longing and desire infuses the poem as "apples" (ll. 1) often symbolize both temptation and desire....   [tags: Edward Taylor Poetry]

Better Essays
848 words (2.4 pages)

Essay about Taylor’s Scientific Management

- The innovation of the world today is towards its deal of materialistic presence of flow of nature. This era of modernization and innovation of the world as at its present view of today has given a chance and has helped to promote organizations whom seek to improve their businesses through efficiency and effectiveness with the help of the classical management theory which is Taylor’s management. Before getting into the depths about Taylor’s Management, let’s get a glimpse about the idea of management....   [tags: Taylor’s Management Theory]

Better Essays
2348 words (6.7 pages)

Paul's Ministry in Corinth Essay

- Paul's Ministry in Corinth Apostle Paul of Tarsus has been described as a one who "gave his heart and strength as he ministered to each flock" (Moore 115). This description is definitely applicable to Paul?s ministry in Corinth.. Though Paul?s ministry began with a visit to Corinth that is chronicled in Acts 18:1-18, the majority of knowledge about the nature of his relationship with the Corinthians comes from the letters that he wrote to them after his departure.. By examining the account of his initial visit and the letters, it is possible to determine a few of Paul?s main themes.....   [tags: Paul Ministry Religion Essays]

Better Essays
1964 words (5.6 pages)

Paul's Character in Paul's Case Essay example

- Paul's Character in Paul's Case Pauls's Case is the story of a young man who struggles with his identity. Paul feels that he knows where he belongs, but his family and teachers refuse to support his choices. In the middle of Paul's Case, there is a switch in narration. At this point, the reader can associate with Paul and his problems. Paul struggles with both internal and external conflicts, causing him to be quite a puzzling character. From tha perspective of his family and teachers, Paul seems abnormal....   [tags: Paul]

Free Essays
615 words (1.8 pages)

Peter Taylor's The Old Forest Essay example

- Peter Taylor's The Old Forest Critics have continuously characterized Peter Taylor’s work, as a social critique of the South and how it shows “the effects of cultural inheritance on its people” (Bryant 66). In his story, “The Old Forest,” Taylor examines the regional history and social structures that shaped his own past and how breaking the architecture that has existed for generations is not easily accomplished. Although it takes place in 1937, with progressive girls and college students filling the city of Memphis with intellectualism and open sexuality, the social constructions of the past, most specifically the descendents of plantation owners and rich socialites, are not easily forgo...   [tags: Peter Taylor Old Forest Essays]

Better Essays
3120 words (8.9 pages)

Samuel Taylor Coleridge Essay

- Samuel Taylor Coleridge The French and American Revolutions had an enormous impact on the early Romantic thinkers like Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. The aristocracies that had been controlling Europe were beginning to fall, the middle class began to grow and power was increasingly falling into the hands of the common people. This may explain why the poetry that Coleridge and Wordsworth produced was aimed at the common man, rather than the educated aristocrats. This meant a shift from elevated language and subject matter, a common trait throughout the "age of reason", and a turn toward spontaneity and emotion, otherwise known as the Romantic period (Spartacus....   [tags: Samuel Taylor Coleridge Papers]

Better Essays
1979 words (5.7 pages)