Religion, Society, and World Relations Faculty of Philosophy

A Physio Centric Foundation of Law - With Latin American Buen Vivir on the Way to a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Nature?

The project explores the provocative claim that we do not only have the obligation to protect nature but to consider nature as a subject of rights on its own.

Duration
07/2017 - 04/2021

Funding
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) :
267 228 Euro

Project management

Dr. Stefan Knauß
Manager of the DFG-Project "Eine physiozentrische Grundlegung des Rechts" ()

The project explores the provocative claim that we do not only have the obligation to protect nature but to consider nature as a subject of rights on its own. The constitution of Ecuador from 2009 is the first one that holds a physiocentric version of rights of nature and appeals to the indigenous concept of nature Pachamama, whose precise meaning has to be explored in the course of the project. (Howard-Malverde 1995) The claim that nature has to be regarded as a legal entity, is here embedded in the Buen Vivir, an Andean conception of the good life. While Ecuardors Constituion as well as e.g. the deep ecology holds that nature possesses rights by itself the most common thesis of german philosophers is that the justification and formulation of rights and obligations refer ultimately and always to human beings. Following this skepti-cal argument the idea of rights of nature in the strongest sense of physiocentrism is misleading, incon-sistent, contradictory and metaphysical unacceptable. Despite this pessimism Alberto Acosta and the fa-thers of the Ecuadorian Constitution do believe in the physiocentric definition of rights and are currently working on a Universal Declaration of the Rights of nature, which could soon be accepted by the United Nations. (Acosta 2010) The aim of the project is to analyze philosophically the legal construction of the ec-uadorian constitution, the rights of nature approach, its genesis and the involved intellectual reasoning. How serious is the idea of the rights of nature taken? What background assumptions and conceptual difficulties are involved? How can we situate the debate within the global discussion of environmental rights and what the consequences would have a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Nature for our understanding of rights, the role of man and his relationship to nature? Will this actually be an evolution of human rights, which continuous the development from the first generation of liberal rights protection, the second generation of social participation rights to the third generation of identity related rights? Is not the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Nature an affront to the idea of human rights?

Research focus

Religion, Society, and World Relations