Modest Pragmatic Lessons for a Diverse and Incoherent Environmental Law

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  2. Dr Ole Pedersen
Author(s)Pedersen OW
Publication type Article
JournalOxford Journal of Legal Studies
ISSN (print)0143-6503
ISSN (electronic)1464-3820
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This article seeks to contribute to ongoing debates on the nature and foundations of environmental law. In doing so, the article accepts the claim made in much of the recent analytical environmental law scholarship that the discipline suffers from a lack of coherence. In a response to this claim, the article probes the potential reasons behind this incoherence. In relying on recent scholarship in the disciplines of social psychology and cultural cognition, the article argues that individual understanding of environmental risks in accordance with a priori held beliefs and values aided by cognitive biases, lends support to a scenario of multiple and diverse understandings of environmental problems. This diversity is in turn reflected in both the form and content of environmental law. In a response to this diversity and incoherence, the article identifies the philosophy of pragmatism and argues that a modest interpretation of pragmatism has the potential to alleviate the biases and heuristics that give rise to the individual understanding of environmental risks.
PublisherOxford University Press
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