Being and Paradox: A new look at AnthropocentrismIn recent years, human-centred ethical theories have come under fire from those sociologists who maintain that those theories which consider humankind the principal locus of value are chauvinistic and inadequate to deal with the unheard claims of the natural world. However, while the detractors of traditional theories put forward their own “biocentric” or holistic alternatives, these do not stand up under the scrutiny of a logical philosophical tradition which has its roots in subject-object thinking, and hence they are not adequate to deal with conflicts where human needs are paramount. Theories of environmental ethics which abandon a rights-based approach, but which take interests at their starting point, for instance, must either eventually concede the supremacy of human basic interests over those of the natural world, or create a network of conflicts of interest which are logically unresolvable. Likewise the extension of rights must take some criterion for its measures e.g. sentience, which still relies on human norms. The conclusion would seem that all claims based on dualistic thinking are essentially anthropocentric, whether intentionally or not.Have we considered anthropocentrism in too narrow terms thus far? If we have it is quite feasible, and in fact essential, to assume a central perspective which does not abandon the concepts if interdependency and kinship. But before such a perspective may be re-appropriated, the dualistic framework in which we currently apprehend reality must be shown to be the result of our erroneous and limited thinking.I hope to show that our duties to the natural world are irrevocably connected with our duties to ourselves as individuals. Compassion and concernful dealings must be an essential part of our humanity and by the criteria I present here, for without these we simply cease to have the right to call ourselves human.We are a part of nature. Yet we all too often consider ourselves apart from nature; thus we put at arms length a problem in which we forget to include ourselves. We are caught up in this paradox. If we are to extricate ourselves from it we must redefine our centrality by appealing to our sense of kinship. We cannot do this within our Judeo-Christian tradition: it is too tainted, too staid. Too “fixed”. Yet outside of this tradition, in the words of the Greek philosophers, the Taoists, the Buddhists, the early conservationists, and most surprisingly but most convincingly the discoveries of the quantum physicists, we may begin to find a place in which we and nature are given equivalent status in our own unique ways of contribution to this planet, our home.The short story which follows Being and Paradox—The Spirit of the Valley— looks at what happens when greed takes the place of care and concern. It is an attempt to place eco-psychology in context.