Francesco Viola

How Nature Becomes Norm

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The author asks himself whether it is possible to wholly do without nature in establishing criteria suitable for establishing norms for living together in contemporary societies and whether and how the notion of human nature can serve to build shared ethics in a pluralistic society. Through the analysis of the link between nature and culture, the examination of nature as a matter of fact and value, as well as of nature as political community, the work tackles the question not so much tied to knowing whether nature, and human nature in particular, has some place in social and political reflection, because this is indubitable. In fact, we can reject anthropocentrism, but not anthropomorphism, i.e. the fact that our way of thinking is human and our societies are inhabited by beings belonging to the human species. The open question is instead in what way does the notion of human nature exercise a normative role in social and political theory. The question that the author tackles is really how nature becomes norm and not if it somehow becomes so.

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