Institut Jean Nicod

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The ontology of climate trials


Directeur - Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde

Public - M1/M2

Dates - 2022/2023


(at least English and French languages are required). The project will consist of analyzing legal minutes of major climate trials in recent years (Urgenda, Klimatzaakt, etc : see main reference-source below) from the point of view of their explicit or implicit ontology. First, the analysis should reveal whether climate issues, through those legal cases, are categorized as a series of actual or potential catastrophic events or as a disruption of natural processes. The first point is to see whether the chosen ontological categorization is likely to affect the litigation resolution at stake. The second point, which touches upon the fundamental legal-philosophical question of this project, is to understand how legal dispositions refer to natural phenomena, namely : as occurring and having an incidence over material interests (property, sovereignty, living beings...) or as deserving legal consideration and protection for their own sake.


[PhilMaster / philosophy or law students]