JASSD - Journal of African Studies and Sustainable Development (Vol. 5 No. 1, 2022) KANT ON THE QUESTION OF RIGHTS AND MORAL DUTIES AND THE CHALLENGE OF BIOCENTRISM Fasiku, Cornelius Gbenga PhD


Following Aristotelian paradigm, every specie has a built-in telos, with humans situated at the peak of life’s pyramid because the capacity of rationality amongst others, is taken as a proof of human’s objective superiority. Many biocentrists argue in the same vein that all living things have "intrinsic worth" and anything that has intrinsic worth has interests that provide a reason for why all moral agents should care about it for the sake of nothing but itself. However, the view widely held by most biocentrists is that, Kant's ethical methodology does not express adequate moral concern for non-human entities. Although Kant recognizes certain duties "regarding" nature, but the ethical question would be whether we have ethical duties towards other members of this moral community on the basis of intrinsic value or on the basis instrumental value. Apart from any legal provisions by which we are moved to action not by inner moral drive and such duties would not be analogous to the ethical duties which Kant himself referred to as juridical duties such as those which underlie laws against assault or theft. This paper therefore seeks to address the scope of moral community in Kant context, i.e. whether our "moral community" include nature or not. Undoubtedly, Kant's description of the moral community seems to be the kingdom of ends, and it is clear that this kingdom includes only rational beings. In the end, this paper establishes its discourse that even though Kant’s ethics has anthropocentric premise, in the end, it will be argued that Kant’s conception of indirect duties is flexible and unrestricted. This paper explores both the bounds and the prospects of Kant's ethics for application by examining Kant's several texts from a broader philosophical perspective. After confirming that Kant's ethics is anthropocentric in nature from Kant's ethical texts, it will be shown that Kant also integrates a holistic nature-based moral system.

Keywords: Anthropocentrism, Environmentalism, Biocentrism, Eco-centrism, Deontologism

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