Contracts – on Science, Politics and Nature

About this project

The research examines the proposal in the work of Michel Serres that society has been based on the exclusion of nature and that it needs to be re-established on the basis of a new ‘contract’ that includes the natural world. 

One interpretation of an approach such as the one taken on this project is that the natural world should be given rights, but the research will argue that an appeal to a juridical sense of contract alone is inadequate. In addition, the ‘contract’ needs to be understood in the context of Serres’s generalised philosophy of communication and his account of complex dynamic systems. A recognition of the importance of disequilibrium marks this approach out from both traditional ecology and from deep ecology. It opens up new challenges and possibilities for thinking about the relation between science, political governance, local forms of organization, individual well-being, and our response to the climate emergency.

Lead researcher

Professor David Webb


David is the course leader for Continental Philosophy. His expertise includes Modern European Philosophy, especially phenomenology, and French epistemology and philosophy of science (Heidegger, Levinas, Foucault, Serres, Bachelard, Cavaill&egrav…

David's profile


in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2024

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021