From the time of its emergence, the modern international legal order has tended to evolve desultorily and reactively to political events, and without sufficient regard to any underlying philosophical principles or informing corpus of scientific knowledge. Insofar as it rests upon any intellectual foundations at all, these are essentially the speculations and assumptions of the eighteenth century European Enlightenment, which, despite their manifest inadequacies, have never been seriously re-examined. Accordingly, while the public international legal system contains numerous rules and principles designed for the protection of both humans and other life-forms, and at the individual and the collective levels alike, there is very little sign of coherence, coordination or due comparative cogency amongst them, resulting in a legal order that is fragmented and insufficiently effective – indeed, in certain respects positively counter-productive. Yet, through a scientifically and philosophically informed examination of these rules, and of the values that appear to underpin them – above all, the concept of dignity – it should now be possible to initiate the development of a truly coherent and convincing bioethical foundation and framework for protection, in more faithful reflection of the qualities of rationality and conscience that we humans have always claimed to possess.
Edited by Michael Bowman, Peter Davies and Edward Goodwin
This wide-ranging Handbook presents a range of perspectives from leading international experts reflecting up-to-date research thinking on the subject of biodiversity law, the crucial importance of which to human welfare is only now being fully appreciated. Through a rigorous examination of the principles, procedures and practices that characterise this area of law, this timely volume effectively highlights its objectives, implementation, achievements, and prospects. Presenting thematic rather than regime-based coverage, the editors demonstrate the state-of-the-art of current research and identify future research needs and directions.