Marine Genetic Resources 1
Marine Genetic Resources 1
The Scientific Representation of the Living World: A Dual Concept Between Nature's and Humans' Shares
"Like the other natural sciences, biology has now become quite disillusioned. It no longer searches for truth. It builds its own truth" 1 [JAC 09, p. 25].
The scientific representation of the living world refers to the way in which scientists figure out life. In a way, it is the duplicate of the real object, which is constructed; it is not reality, but it makes sense of this reality. We often speak more specifically of scientific representation to include the concepts, laws and theories that make it possible to understand any area of knowledge. The following discussion will concern the scientific representations of the living world through the history of sciences based on the marine example. Natural sciences are logo-theoretical; namely, they are the result of an abstract rhetoric based on notions, ideas and concepts. "According to them, human endeavors of knowing [should] not produce anything, but only reflect (the ideal of the contemplation of essences) and represent (the ideal of the rhetoric and the book)" 2 [HOT 97, p. 160]. Nature is what it shows [HAD 04], which helps us to explain the assimilation of nature to the sphere of what exists, and what is given (see section 1.1 ).
Besides the "natural result of life which goes its own way and only recognizes its own law" 3 [MIC 97, p. 142], a modified, handled, transformed and constructed living world that is represented by the life sciences has emerged through human action over the centuries (see section 1.2 ). This introductory study will question the definition and position that science grants to the living world, without forgetting that they are the result of a history and a specific spatio-temporal context. This reflection will allow us to lay the conceptual and epistemological foundations that are essential for the study of the legal condition of the living world via the case of marine genetic resources.
1.1. Natural sciences: the given living world
Even if we find some kind of continuous representation in the ordering of living beings through the history of the sciences, we should not be deceived. "Scholars" modified classifications according to scientific and technical progress, as they gradually broke free from philosophical and religious dogmas. The 18th Century was a turning point characterized by the drive to know things in an encyclopedic manner. At this time, natural classification became a true scientific endeavor to decipher the characteristics of nature based on observation. "Taxonomy, the science of natural classification, associates a specific language with the aim of fitting the whole of nature into the classificatory space of a table" 4 [SAM 05, p. 24] (see section 1.1.1 ). At the turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries, a new model of knowledge, based on experiment, was implemented because of the appearance of life sciences. This involved the observation of what was invisible, which had hitherto been impossible. In the 20th Century, the field of the infinitely small opened. Molecular biology, genetics and biochemistry all expanded rapidly. Scientists discovered new methods and techniques to identify species. Systematics became a tool of biodiversity identification (see section 1.1.2 ).
1.1.1. Taxonomy: the observation of the living world
The purpose of taxonomy is to describe and identify living organisms 5 . It implies "some continuum of things (a non-discontinuity, a fullness of beings) and some power of imagination, which reveals what is not, and makes it possible thereby to reveal what is continuous" 6 . As "the science of classification; laws and principles covering the classifying of objects" (Collins), it is greatly dependent on the results of