How the Law Brings us Closer to Nature

How the Law Brings us Closer to Nature

91 pages


Genre: Essay, Nonfiction
Rivers as legal subjects in their own right? Can animals go to court? A long overdue admission and a way to recast the relationship between nature and culture

The fundamental assumption in this surprising and politically programmatic essay is the fictionality of the construction of law – especially that of legal personality. The philosopher and economist Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde sees in this the only seemingly paradoxical possibility of bringing us closer to nature and abolishing the divide between nature and culture. By assigning the status of independent legal subjects, he argues, we would be able to better identify nature and its concerns and ultimately protect it and our existence within it. This position may argue against challenging law in favor of an ideal and imagined law of nature that humans aspire to in their search for nature and desire for harmony with the environment. It would be a path of endogenous change rather than one that leads from within beyond notions of natural law. A new legal version of the relationship between humans and nature could also include indigenous conceptions of nature and recognize them through a new constitution.

German title: Wie uns das Recht der Natur näher bringt
ISBN: 978-3-7518-0568-1
Publisher: Matthes & Seitz Berlin
Publication date: 2023
Series: Fröhliche Wissenschaft Vol. 222
Sold to: France



Sample translation

French original available

Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde is a philosopher and economist. He teaches as a professor of economics and cognitive science at Université Paris 2 and École normale supérieure. His research focuses on the relationship between human cognitive abilities and the environments and institutions in which they are deployed. 

"An inspiring contribution to an important debate" Spektrum der Wissenschaft