The Earth as Pinprick: Some Early Western Challenges to Anthropocentrism



While the ancient Greeks and Romans (most notably Plato and Aristotle) were essentially anthropocentric in point of view, some of them, including Democritus, Empedocles, Lucretius, Seneca, and Lucian, established important precedents that challenge and overturn this view, anticipating modern science and even Darwin and beyond. This chapter analyzes texts from the Presocratics to late antiquity to show how the questioning of anthropocentrism developed over roughly 800 years. The ancients show that the questioning of anthropocentrism is nothing new; their work is part of the bridge required to help us move more responsibly into the later parts of the twenty-first century and beyond.

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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English, Philosophy, and World LanguagesArkansas State UniversityJonesboroUSA

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