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Modest Pragmatic Lessons for a Diverse and Incoherent Environmental Law

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ole Pedersen

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Abstract

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.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Pedersen OW

Publication type: Article

Journal: Oxford Journal of Legal Studies

Year: 2013

Volume: 33

Issue: 1

Pages: 103-131

Print publication date: 25/10/2012

ISSN (print): 0143-6503

ISSN (electronic): 1464-3820

Publisher: Oxford University Press

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ojls/gqs026

DOI: 10.1093/ojls/gqs026


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