This book addresses the use of Benedict Spinoza’s philosophy in current attempts to elaborate an ecological basis for international environmental law. Because the question of environmental protection has not been satisfactory resolved, the legal debate concerning our responsibility for the environment has – as evidenced in the recent UN report series Harmony with Nature – come to invite calls for a new eco-centric, rather than anthropocentric, legal paradigm. In this respect, Spinoza appears as a key figure. He is one of the few philosophers in the history of western philosophy who cares, and writes extensively, about the roots of anthropocentrism; the core issue of contemporary normative debates in ecology. And in response to the rapidly developing ecological crisis, his work has become central to a re-thinking of the human relationship with nature. Addressing the contention that Spinoza’s ethics might provide a useful source for developing a new, eco-centred framework for environmental law, this book elaborates a more nuanced understanding of Spinoza’s philosophy. Spinoza cannot, it is argued here, simply be reduced to an eco-ethicist. That is: his metaphysics cannot be used as basis of an essentially naturalised or extended human morality. At the same time, however, this book argues that the radicality of Spinoza’s naturalism nevertheless offers the possibility of developing a more adequate ecological basis for environmental law.
1. The Harmony with Nature Reports and the call for non-anthropocentrism as a response to the environmental problem
2. Spinoza's metaphysics: substance monism, naturalism and psychological egoism
3. Spinoza and law
4. Spinoza and the state
5. A Spinozistic theory of international law
6. The Reports and the normative implications of an eco-ethical approach inspired by Spinoza's philosophy
In an age of climate change, scarcity of resources, and the deployment of new technologies that put into question the very idea of the 'natural', this book series offers a cross-disciplinary, novel engagement with the connections between law and ecology. The fundamental challenge taken up by the series concerns the pressing need to interrogate and to re-imagine prevailing conceptions of legal responsibility, legal community and legal subjectivity, by embracing the wider recognition that human existence is materially embedded in living systems and shared with multiple networks of non-humans.
Encouraging cross-disciplinary engagement and reflection upon relevant empirical, policy and theoretical issues, the series pursues a thoroughgoing, radical and timely exploration of the multiple relationships between law, justice and ecology.