International Environmental Law and the Search for Harmony with Nature: A Critical Inquiry into the Metaphysical Underpinnings of the Legal Discourse on Environmental Protection

University dissertation from Lund University (Media-Tryck)

Abstract: Popular Abstract in English For some time now, the world in general and international law in particular have witnessed one and the same widespread call for action. Both public and private interests claim that present-day standards and technology have proven insufficient for saving the natural environment. From this claim has emerged a call that entreats us to approach the problem of the deteriorating natural environment by including nature into our moral considerations. In this study Moa De Lucia Dahlbeck analyses what the normative implications would be of adhering to one of the arguably most influential and widely recognized expressions of this call for action: the report series entitled Harmony with Nature: Report of the Secretary General. Tracing the metaphysical conditions underpinning the Reports, she suggests that their implications on international law can be explained by turning to the metaphysical philosophy of early rationalist Benedict Spinoza. From this position, she sets out to critically evaluate the plausibility of the Reports’ claims as well as the compatibility of international environmental law with a radically new ethics.