The Anthropocentrism (Greek anthropos ” human” and kentron ” center” which means man in the center) is a concept opposed to theocentrism , which highlights the importance of man as a being endowed with intelligence and hence free to carry out their actions in the world.
Symbol of Humanist Anthropocentrism: Vitruvian Man (1590) by Leonardo da Vinci
In other words, anthropocentrism is a philosophical doctrine or science of the human being, so that man represents the central figure, being responsible for his actions (whether cultural, social, historical and philosophical) as well as the main reference for understanding the world.
Difference between Theocentrism and Anthropocentrism
In contrast, Theocentrism (God at the center of the world) is related to religion, whose things are like that because God put them that way in the world.
With no chance of scientific questioning, theocentrism was a very widespread concept during the Middle Ages, where religion had a central place in the life of the population.
However, with Renaissance humanism and other transformations that Europe underwent in the 15th and 16th century (great navigations, invention of the press, Protestant reform, decline of the feudal system, emergence of the bourgeoisie, scientism, etc.), anthropocentrism emerges as a measure of inspiration to scholars (philosophers and artists), who had the intention of bringing up issues based on empiricist scientism .
Faced with this change in mentality and breaking of paradigms in relation to the previous era, a rational, critical and questioning man appears with his own reality, therefore responsible for his thoughts and actions in the world.
Thus, at that moment, anthropocentrism represented the transition from feudalism to mercantile capitalism, or even from the transition from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age.
In this sense, several fields of knowledge cultivated this new worldview, based on human beings, nature and society, just like the arts in general (literature, painting, sculpture, music, etc.) as well as philosophy.
It was at this time that humanists encouraged the inclusion of disciplines in the academic universe, important for the development of this new mentality: philosophy, languages, literature, arts, humanities and sciences.
It is worth noting that God was not left out altogether, because the “divine” was still part of people’s lives, however, it became not the only true thing, based on the Bible.
In such a way, the truth would be closely related to human rationality (reason) which would designate the gift sent by the Lord, that is, something divine that should be explored before the power of man as the image and likeness of God.
This human independence from God led the human being to reflect, create, disseminate and produce knowledge, and in this way, to great scientific discoveries, as well as to the evolution of human thought.