Paolo Napoli

Variations on the Saying: «The Nature Can Do Without the Man»

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The categories of law entertain a relationship with the object-nature for which the history of legal norms and the increasingly pervasive attention of contemporary jurists indicate paths that rival both speculative and applied philosophical reflection. The article takes its cue from the views expressed by Y. Thomas on the way in which Roman jurists institutionalized nature, depriving it of any intrinsic normative force, and by M.A. Hermitte, who among contemporary jurists has comprehensively expounded the alternative model of a legal subjectivation of nature. In the light of these premises, the attempt is to return to the idea of the natural contract elaborated by M. Serres to reconsider those normative mechanisms that make it possible to rethink the relationship of the human with the living according to an idea of ‘belonging’ that privileges administrative and non-proprietary modalities. Regarding responsibility for the damage that humans cause to nature, it will be a matter of overcoming the typically liberal model of monetary compensation, to valorize instead protection in a specific form, that is, the restoration of the state prior to the disturbance of anthropic origin. The ‘new’ contract finds in the legal-theological combination of the figure of the ‘deposit’ a paradigm opened to the intergenerational perspective.


  • Nature
  • Natural Contract
  • Normative Mechanisms
  • Restoration


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