In the last decades the branches of knowledge have incremented exponentially both from a quantitative and a qualitative point of view: new disciplines were borne, while traditional branches have remarkably enlarged their knowledge basis. The confluence among branches has also allowed the creation of more and more sophisticated technologies: for example, in the field of diagnostic medicine, the invention of machineries such the TAC or the ultrasound scanner has been favored by the joint research of doctors, physicists, engineers and computer scientists. More generally, we  must face complex, interrelated problems which are considered under the idea of global sustainability, such as:

a)   the protection of the environment;

b)   the demographic problem, coupled with the aging of the populations of certain areas of the world;

c)   the growing demand for energies and fuels;

d)   etc.

We cannot deal with such problems by making recourse to specific branches of knowledge. We must establish a dialogue between the different branches of knowledge. When tackling problems of this magnitude our skills should act like a zoom on an image: we must have an overall vision and, at the same time, the ability to go into the details. The problem is to understand how to set up the dialogue between the different branches.

Do law and lawyers play a special role in this process?

Branches of knowledge must learn how to speak to each other. The law should act as a connective element or a bridge between different branches of knowledge. In many respects lawyers are in the best position to prepare the ground for a dialogue between different fields of knowledge (for example biology and philosophy) as a prerequisite to facilitate the production of new knowledge. The problem of mastering the huge amount of knowledge which has been piled up over the time and the trend to the hyper-specialization make difficult to show how such knowledge can solve the daily problems and improve life. Lawyers can favor both the spreading of the results attained by the other branches of knowledge and the singling out of the effects of the different discoveries.