What does Anthropocentrism Mean?

Anthropocentrism is a philosophical current that had its origin in the Renaissance, according to which man is the measure of all things and the center of the universe. The word is formed from the Latin expression anthropo, which means ‘man’ and the suffix ism, which means ‘movement’.

This current of thought is also known as anthropocentric humanism and has its direct antecedents in theological humanism of the late Middle Ages, which revalued the human being as a divine creation. With the passage of time, this approach resulted in the assessment of man himself, a transformation that occurred under the influence of the Greco-Latin classics.

Part of the postulates of anthropocentrism are related to historical transformations such as:

  • the secularization of knowledge and society;
  • the translation of many texts from Latin, Arabic and Greek into vulgar languages;
  • the heyday of universities (appeared in the Middle Ages);
  • the compression of man as a whole (pleasure, dignity and freedom);
  • the revaluation of the human through the study of Classical Antiquity, and
  • the emergence of the concept of the autonomy of art.

In the context of anthropocentric philosophy, the ideal of the gentle man was born, characterized by being a model image of the multiple and learned man, who manages different areas of knowledge (liberal arts, sciences, etc.) and which is distinguished by the exhibition of such knowledge.

Anthropocentrism thus becomes a paradigm of thought that allows to open the way for the conformation of modernity or modern era, with all that that implies, especially from the progressive freedom for study and research, which allowed the development of The science.

Among the most representative authors of anthropocentrism we can mention Erasmus of Rotterdam, famous for having written the Praise of Madness , and Michelle de Montaige, a French writer known for creating the essay genre.