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Abstract

Human self-regulation, however conceived, is but a small part of a bigger whole. But that part is becoming more disruptive of the broader self-regulatory system of the biosphere, the Earth system. The purpose of this essay is to connect two narratives. One concerning biospheric self-regulation, which has been formulated in increasing detail, and the other concerning human selfregulation, which remains inchoate and scattered. The starting point of the analysis is the curious fact that, whereas in the past most accounts of the world embedded humans within nature, even if the overall impact of humans on natural cycles was limited, in the last two centuries, the prevailing accounts have assumed or postulated a disconnection between human and natural history, despite the fact that the empirical connection has become inescapable. In this context, this essay first characterises the conceptual disconnection and the empirical connection between human action and geological processes, and then revisits, in this light, the link between biospheric self-regulation and human self-regulation, paying attention to the role of the social practices we call law.

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