Philosophers’ Dialogue on Nature in Modern Society, Now and in the Future – Watch the videos!

Nature Outlook philosophers' dialogue image webpage NO 2015-12-14On 11 November 2015 the renowned philosophers Bruno Latour, Roger Scruton, Wilhelm Schmid and Annemarie Mol engaged in an inspirational, thought-provoking exchange of ideas on the fundamental value of nature and its relationship with society. The Dialogue was part of the PBL project Nature Outlook: Visions for Nature in the EU.

The role of nature in our society is changing, with ‘nature for people’ and ‘nature and people’ as upcoming frames. What does this mean for nature policy on EU, national and other levels? And how do the debates on food quality, energy production, smart cities and climate change relate to the debate on nature? These major questions were the starting point for the inspiring presentations of the speakers and for a lively exchange of ideas between them and with the audience.

The event took place in an intimate setting in Pakhuis De Zwijger in Amsterdam. Among the guests were key policymakers from the European Commission, and the Member States, and representatives of various business organisations, civil society, and science.

Book on European nature and society

The presentations and the discussion will be turned into a book  with the working title European nature: philosophical roots and societal future. The book will present the various views on nature and its value, and on the relationships between nature and society. It will aim to inspire all types of people, from the public, the private, and the civic sectors, and from local to European levels.


  • Hans Mommaas, Director-General of PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and Professor at Tilburg University
    We can’t dissociate the question on the organisation of nature from the way we organise societies

  • Matthijs Schouten, Professor at Wageningen University and Cork University
    Perceptions of nature vary very much between individuals and between cultural contexts

  • Roger Scruton, Professor at Boston University and the University of St Andrews
    The motive to protect nature must come from the people themselves who live in it

  • Wilhelm Schmid, Professor at the University of Erfurt specialized in the Philosophy of the Art of Living
    From an ecological perspective, could we opt not to make all that we would like?

  • Annemarie Mol, Professor of Anthropology of the Body at Amsterdam University
    There is not just one nature, there are very many repertoires that we have in  thinking and also in organising nature

  • Bruno Latour, Professor at Sciences Po Paris and the London School of Economics
    What we are witnessing now is the explosion of the notions of nature

  • Toby Aykroyd, Coordinator of the Wild Europe Initiative and Co-founder of the Population and Sustainability Network
    Conservation needs to be underpinned by an effective philosophy, one that reflects some of the newer technical advances and sectoral approaches