Ancient assumptions of contemporary considerations of nature, life and non-human living beings


Advocates of the questioning of the dominant anthropocentric perspective of the world have been increasingly strongly presenting (bio)ethical demands for a new solution of the relationship between humans and other beings, saying that adherence to the Western philosophical and theological traditions has caused the current environmental, and not just environmental, crisis. The attempts are being made to establish a new relationship by relativizing the differences between man and the non-human living beings, often by attributing specifically human traits and categories, such as dignity, moral status and rights to non-human living beings. The author explores antecedents of the standpoints that deviate from the mainstream Western philosophy, in terms of non-anthropocentric extension of ethics, and finds them in the fragments of first physicists, which emphasize kinship of all varieties of life. Pythagoras, Empedocles, Anaxagoras and Democritus, in this context, considered certain animals and plants as sacred, i.e. they believed that they are, in a sense, responsible for what they do and that they apart from being able to be driven by a natural desire, being able to breathe, feel, be sad and happy, also have a soul, power of discernment, awareness, the ability to think, understanding and mind. Finally, the author believes that solutions or mitigation of the mentioned crisis are not in the simple Aesopeian levelling of animals and plants "upwards", but in an adequate paideutic approach which in humans will develop an inherent (bio)ethical model of accepting non-human living beings as creatures who deserve moral and decent treatment and respect.

Full Text

Restricted Access

About the authors

Zeljko Kaluderovic

University of Novi Sad


Dr. of philosophy, Full professor, Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy


  1. AAAS Committee on scientific freedom and responsibility. Scientific freedom and responsibility [Electronic resource]. Washington, DC, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1975. URL: (date accessed: 29.02.2020).
  2. Aramini M. Uvod u bioetiku. Zagreb, Krscanska sadasnjost, 2009. (In Serbian).
  3. Aristotel. Fizika. Beograd, PAIDEIA Izd., 2006. (In Serbian).
  4. Aristotle. Metaphysics. Trans. W. D. Ross. In The Complete Works of Aristotle II, ed. Jonathan Barnes. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1991.
  5. Aristotle. On Plants. Trans. E. S. Forster. In The Complete Works of Aristotle II, ed. Jonathan Barnes. Princeton, Princeton University Press. 1991.
  6. Aristotle. On the Soul. Trans. J. A. Smith. In The Complete Works of Aristotle I, ed. Jonathan Barnes. Princeton, Princeton University Press. 1991.
  7. Bentham J. An introduction to the the principles of morals and legislation [Electronic resource]. URL: 80.pdf (date accessed: 26.02.2020).
  8. Библща, Свето писмо Старог зав]ега, «Прва каига Мо]сщева». Београд, Св. арх. Син. Срп. прав. црк. Izd., 2007. (In Serbian).
  9. Callicott J. Encyclopedia of environmental ethics and philosophy. Baird and Frodeman, Robert (eds.). Farmington Hills, MI, Macmillan Reference USA, 2009.
  10. Carruthers P. The Animals Issue. Today’s Moral Issues. Ed. Daniel Bonevac. Boston, McGraw Hill Publ., 2002, pp. 101-106.
  11. Chamovitz D. What a plant knows, a field guide to the senses. 2nd edition. Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017
  12. Cherniss H. Aristotle's Criticism of Presocratic Philosophy. New York, OCTAGON BOOKS INC. 1964.
  13. Cifric I. Bioeticka ekumena. Zagreb, PERGAMENA Izd., 2007. (In Serbian).
  14. Covic A. Bioticka zajednica kao temelj odgovornosti za ne-ljudska ziva bica. In Od nove medicinska etike do integrativne bioetike. eds. Ante Covic, Nada Gosic and Luka Tomasevic, 37. Zagreb, PERGAMENA Izd., 2009. (In Serbian).
  15. Derrida J. The animal that therefore i am (More to Follow) [Electronic resource]. Critical Inquiry, 2002, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 369-418. URL: (date accessed: 26.02.2020).
  16. Diels, Hermann and Kranz, Walther. Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker I-III. Zurich, Weidmann Izd., 1985-1987.
  17. Dombrowski, D. A. The Philosophy of Vegetarianism. Amherst, The University of Massachusetts Press, 1984. (In Serbian).
  18. Dunayer J. Specizam. Zagreb; Cakovec, Inst. za etn. i folk. Zagreb, D. D. Cakovec. (In Serbian).
  19. Eterovic I. Kant i bioetika. Zagreb, PERGAMENA Izd., Cent. za int. bioet. Fil. fak. Sveuc. u Zagrebu, 2017. (In Serbian).
  20. European convention for the protection of vertebrate animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes [Electronic resource]. URL: en/treaties/html/123.htm. (date accessed: 25.02.2020).
  21. Frey R.G. Animals and their medical use. In Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics. Andrew I. Cohen and Christopher H. Wellman (eds.), Oxford, Blackwell Publishing, 2005, pp. 91-103.
  22. Guthrie W.K.C. A History of Greek Philosophy. Part I. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1962.
  23. Guthrie W.K.C. A history of greek philosophy. Part II. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1965.
  24. Hartman N. Novi putevi ontologije. Beograd, BIGZ Izd., 1973. (In Serbian).
  25. Herodot. Istorija. Beograd, Dereta Izd., 2009. (In Serbian).
  26. Homer. Ilijada. Novi Sad, I.r.o. Mat. srp. 1985. (In Serbian).
  27. Homer. Odiseja. Beograd, Zav. za udzb. i nast. sred, 2002. (In Serbian).
  28. Huffman C.A. The Pythagorean tradition. In The Cambridge Companion to EARLY GREEK PHILOSOPHY. Ed. Antony A. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  29. FIVE FREEDOMS. ASPCA® [Electronic resource]. URL: aspca_asv_five_freedoms_final_0_0.pdf. (date accessed: 26.02.2020).
  30. Jaeger W. the theology of the early greek philosophers. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1967.
  31. Jahr F. Reviewing the ethical relations of humans towards animals and plants. In Fritz jahr and the foundations of global bioethics. The future of integrative bioethic. Amir Muzur and Hans-Martin Sass (eds.). Berlin - Munster -Wien - Zurich - London, Lit Verlag Publ., 2012.
  32. Jahr F. Zastita zivotinja i etika u svom medusobnom odnosu. In Fritz Jahr i radanje europske bioetike. Iva Rincic and Amir Muzur. Zagreb, PERGAMENA Izd., 2012. (In Serbian).
  33. Jamblih. Pitagorin zivot. Beograd, DERETA Izd., 2012. (In Serbian).
  34. Jamieson D. Ethics and Environment. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  35. Jonas H. Princip odgovornosti. Sarajevo, 1990. (In Serbian).
  36. Juric H. Etika odgovornosti Hansa Jonasa. Zagreb, PERGAMENA Izd., 2010. (In Serbian).
  37. Калуђеровић Ж., Миљевић А. Стагиранин, Ерешанинине-људскаживабића [Electronic resource]. ARHE XVI, 2019, vol. 31, pp. 105-131. URL: (date accessed: 29.02.2020).
  38. Kaluderovic Z. Bioethics and hereditary genetic modifications [Electronic resource]. Conatus - Journal of Philosophy, 2018, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 31-44. URL: e/view/18452 (date accessed: 29.02.2020).
  39. Kaluderovic Z. Dike i dikaiosyne. Скоп|е, Магнаскен, 2015. (In Serbian).
  40. Kaluderovic Z. Pretpostavke nastanka morala. Bosnjacka pismohrana. Zbornik radova Simpozija «Gdje je nestao - moral», 2016, vol. 15, no. 42-43, pp. 135-147. (In Serbian).
  41. Kaluderovic Z. Talesov vitalizam. Filozofska istrazivanja, 2015, vol. 139, no. 35(3), pp. 471-482. URL: (date accessed: 26.02.2020). (In Serbian).
  42. Kant, I. Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. Trans. A. W. Wood. New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 2002.
  43. Krznar T. U blizini straha. Karlovac, Veleuciliste u Karlovcu Izd., 2016. (In Serbian).
  44. Krznar T. Znanje i destrukcija. Zagreb, PERGAMENA Izd., 2011. (In Serbian).
  45. Laertije D. Zivoti i misljenja istaknutih filozofa. Beograd, BIGZ Izd., 1973. (In Serbian).
  46. Lerga I.R. Bioetika i odgovornost u genetici. Zagreb, PERGAMENA Izd., 2007. (In Serbian).
  47. Meyer-Abich K.M. Praktische Naturphilosophie. Munchen, C. H. Beck, 1997.
  48. Meyer-Abich K.M. Wege zum frieden mit der natur. Munchen und Wien, Hanser, 1984. (In German).
  49. Platon. Timaj. Beograd, Mladost Izd., 1981. (In Serbian).
  50. Porphyry. On abstinence from animal food [Electronic resource]. Trans. T. Taylor. URL: c=frontcover&dq=porphyry+on+abstinence+from+animal+f ood+pdf&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjWkejdnr_TAhVBt xoKHTY1BxIQ6AEIJjAB#v=onepage&q&f=false (date accessed: 27.02.2020).
  51. Encyclopedia of Bioethics I. Ed. Post S. T. New York, Macmillan Reference USA, 2004.
  52. Protopapadakis E.D. Animal rights, or just human wrongs? In Animal Ethics Past and Present Perspectives. Ed. Evangelos D. Protopapadakis. Berlin, Logos Verlag Berlin GmbH, 2012, pp. 279-291.
  53. Regan T. All that dwell therein. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1982.
  54. Regan T. The case for animal rights. Berkeley, University of California Press, 2004.
  55. Rincic I. Europska bioetika: ideje i institucije. Zagreb, PERGAMENA Izd., 2011. (In Serbian).
  56. Singer P. Oslobodenje zivotinja. Zagreb, Ibis grafika Izd., 1998. (In Serbian).
  57. Singer P. Practical ethics. New York, Cambridge University Press, 2011.
  58. Singer P. Writings on an Ethical Life. New York, HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2001.
  59. Steiner G. Anthropocentrism and its discontents: the moral status of animals in the history of western philosophy. Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005.
  60. The universal declaration of human rights [Electronic resource]. URL: (date accessed: 25.02.2020).
  61. Universal declaration of animal rights. URL: http: // (date accessed: 29.02.2020).
  62. Constitution of the Republic of Serbia. 2006. (In Serbian).
  63. Viskovic N. Kulturna zoologija. Zagreb, Jesenski i Turk Izd., 2009. (In Serbian).
  64. Zagorac I. Bioeticki senzibilitet. Zagreb, PERGAMENA Izd., 2018. (In Serbian).
  65. Law on animal welfare of the Republic of Serbia [Electronic resource]. URL: zakon_o_dobrobiti_zivotinja.html (date accessed: 25.02.2020).
  66. Law on animal protection and welfare of Bosnia and Herzegovina [Electronic resource]. URL: web/images/dokumenti/Zako_o_zastiti_i_dobrobiti_zivotinj a.pdf (date accessed: 29.02.2020).
  67. Law on animal protection and welfare of Montenegro [Electronic resource]. URL: PravniAktDetalji.aspx?tag=%7B92A63CC4-3155-49BD-BB32-EC9624638EB3%7D (date accessed: 29.02.2020).
  68. Law on animal protection of the Republic of Croatia [Electronic resource]. URL: (date accessed: 29.02.2020).



Abstract - 12

PDF (Russian) - 0


Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...



Copyright (c) 2020 Volgograd State Medical University

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies