Law, Process Philosophy and Ecological Civilization

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The call by Chinese environmentalists for an ecological civilization to supersede industrial civilization, subsequently embraced by the Chinese government and now being promoted throughout the world, makes new demands on legal systems, national and international. If governments are going to prevent ecological destruction then law will be essential to this. The Chinese themselves have recognized grave deficiencies in their legal institutions. They are reassessing these and looking to Western traditions for guidance. Yet law as it has developed in the West, particularly in Anglophone countries, which has crystallized as the tradition of ‘liberal legalism’, is in a state of crisis. Rather than being taken as a cause for despair at the legal traditions of East and West, this challenge could be taken as an opportunity to fundamentally rethink the basis of the law and its role in society and civilization. To overcome the deficiencies in the theory and practice of law in so-called ‘liberal democracies’ I will argue here that it will be necessary to revive and develop the philosophies of law associated with the ‘Radical Enlightenment’.
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Archival date: 2016-03-02
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