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This event is jointly organized with the Biodiversity & People Network and the Observatory of Representation: International Centre for the study of the State, Democracy and Citizenship.


The workshop will consist of three sessions on ethical, legal, and constitutional perspectives, introduced respectively by

Chris Gill (Classics Exeter)

Pierre Brunet (Paris 1 Sorbonne)

Stephen Gardiner (University of Washington, Seattle)


This session will be online only.


Time: Dec 6, 2023 03:30 PM London, Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 926 7651 9122

Password: 746587



Workshop on ‘Representing “Nature” and “Future Generations”’

Wednesday 6th December – Online Workshop 15.30-18.00 London Time

The increasing awareness that we live in a time of ecological crisis, characterized by significant and man-produced climate change and environmental degradation, has given rise to many forms of environmental protest and activism, as well as pressure from civil society to find instruments, policies, and the political will to address such a crisis. The mobilization of society has proceeded in parallel with the formation and development of forms of scientific and technological knowledge aimed to understand and counter the ecological crisis. A not insignificant part in this increase of social awareness and knowledge has been played by the search for scientific and normative languages that, on the one hand, adequately capture the interconnection between humanity and its natural environments, and, on the other, define the moral thread that binds present to future generations.

The Workshop on ‘Representing Nature and Future Generations’ intends to explore some aspects of this intellectual and philosophical search involving reflections on different ethical, legal, and political issues. The title of the workshop uses ‘representing’ in two interconnecting senses. One refers to the problem of how to ‘represent’, in the sense of giving voice and acting in place of entities whose agency can only be virtual. The other suggests that virtual representation requires producing an image of such entities, of their function, role, or interests, so to give them a kind of autonomous value or ‘personality’.

The Workshop is divided into three parts. The first, introduced by Chris Gill, will look at the relationship between human beings and their natural environments from an ethical perspective, exploring in particular the way in which the classical philosophy of the Stoics may offer a powerful statement of the idea of nature, with intrinsic value, and connected to the existence and happiness of a community of humankind. The second, introduced by Pierre Brunet, will review the emergence of the idea of the ‘rights of nature’ in modern jurisprudence and law examining both its justification and its practical implementation through different legal systems. The third, introduced by Stephen Gardiner, will focus on the ‘intergenerational turn’ in global and environmental justice, discussing ways of addressing the mismatch between the widely shared aspiration to protect the environment for future generations, and the kind of global institutional means that can best fulfill such an aspiration. Open discussion of each of these themes will follow the presentations.





15:30 Workshop Presentation

15:40 Ethics Views of Nature

Chair: Jack Tganey (Exeter)

Introduction to the discussion: Christopher Gill (Emeritus Professor of Classics, Exeter)

16:25 The 'Right' of Nature

Chair: Dario Castiglione (Exeter)

Introduction to the discussion: Pierre Brunet (Professor of Legal Theory, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

17:10 A Convention for Future Generations

Chair: Catriona McKinnon (Exeter)

Introduction to the discussion: Stephen Gardiner (Professor of Philosophy, University of Washington, Seattle)



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