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The Barbarian Principle

Merleau-Ponty, Schelling, and the Question of Nature

Jason M. Wirth, Patrick Burke

Publication Year: 2013

Essays exploring a rich intersection between phenomenology and idealism with contemporary relevance.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-x


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pp. xi-xii


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pp. xiii-xvi

PART I Orientations

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CHAPTER ONE The Reawakening of the Barbarian Principle

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pp. 3-22

In his provocative essay in Signs on Husserl and the problem of non-philosophy and non-phenomenology, “The Philosopher and His Shadow,” Merleau-Ponty takes up the question of what eludes philosophy but which cannot nonetheless be dismissed from philosophy. “What resists phenomenology within us—natural being, the ‘barbarian’ source ...

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CHAPTER TWO Prefatory Meditations

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pp. 23-38

This essay purports to show that Merleau-Ponty’s philosophical vocation of the phenomenologist to offer a description of lived before the objectifications and interpretations of natural science or the natural attitude. Like Schelling, Merleau-Ponty turns to the artist, to the painter, who, according to Merleau-Ponty, alone ...

PART II Schelling and the Question of Nature

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CHAPTER THREE Unfolding the Hidden Logos

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pp. 41-58

And what if the Barbarian Principle operates in language just as perspective of Schelling. But it is by no means limited to that perspective. As Merleau-Ponty once famously stated (citing Valéry), “language is everything, since it is the voice of no one, since it is the very voice of the things, the waves, and the forests.” This is ...

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CHAPTER FOUR Schelling on Plato’s Timaeus

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pp. 59-76

This essay investigates the intricate relationship between Schelling and Plato’s major cosmological works, The Ages of the World and the Timaeus, respectively, with a special focus on the controversial and intriguing notion of the platonic χώρα, which proves to be of major significance for the question of Nature. The first section ...

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CHAPTER FIVE On the Relation Between Natureand History in Schelling’s Freedom Essay and Spinoza’s Theologico-Political Treatise

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pp. 94-116

This chapter explores the relation between Schelling’s and Spinoza’s respective conceptions of Nature and the different conceptions of history to which they lead. Although Schelling’s conception of Nature initially emerges out of an intense engagement with Spinoza, I argue that his reconfiguration of the Spinozan substance/mode ...

PART III Merleau-Ponty and Schelling in Conversation

SECTION 1 Overviews

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pp. 119-120

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CHAPTER SEVEN Être sauvage and the Barbarian Principle

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pp. 138-148

The readers of Merleau-Ponty have long recognized Merleau- Ponty’s interest in the Naturphilosophie as developed in post-Kantian philosophy, most notably and radically by Schelling. In this essay, I discuss Merleau-Ponty’s relationship to Schelling and the barbarian principle, concentrating on the late lecture course, ...

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CHAPTER EIGHT Être brut or Nature

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pp. 149-186

This contribution purports to explain the change in Merleau-Ponty’s conception of Nature when he dissected Schelling’s Naturphilosophie in the lectures held in 1956–1958 and 1959–1960 at the Collège de France. Merleau-Ponty’s thought on Nature had been evolving steadily: a classical conception as a “manifold of objective events ...

SECTION 2 Particular themes

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pp. 187-188

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CHAPTER NINE Freedom as the Experience of Nature

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pp. 189-210

How to bring together the lawfulness of freedom and necessity poses the main problem for Schelling’s Naturphilosophie. Yet for humans, being natural emerges in a new perspective and experience: realizing that human freedom brings an openness toward Nature, transgressing its eternal recurrence toward an open future, an open...

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CHAPTER TEN Finding the Body’s Place in Nature

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pp. 211-224

In this essay, I place Merleau-Ponty’s course notes on Nature (1956–1960) between his two major works (The Phenomenology of Perception and The Visible and the Invisible) with regard to the Ponty’s discussion of Schelling’s conception of Nature in the first lecture course represents a central step in his reflection on that ...

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CHAPTER ELEVEN Nature and Self-Knowledge

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pp. 225-240

This essay takes issue with Merleau-Ponty’s criticism of Schelling in his lecture course, “The Concept of Nature.” For Merleau-Ponty, Schelling’s idea of nature remains bound to the Idealist tradition with its focus on the unity of nature in the Absolute Subject. The limit of this Romantic concept of nature, Merleau-Ponty suggests, ...

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CHAPTER TWELVE Reading the Barbarous Source

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pp. 241-272

As is well known, Schelling’s work achieved a certain paradigmatic phenomenological descriptive method. Concomitantly, he elaborated theoretical expression and its historical rationality, articulating its inherent “right of rectification.” The result outlined the emergence of his new account in relation to what he termed an “operant” or ...

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pp. 273-284

In this essay I trace the relationship of the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty to that of Schelling by following the itinerary of the various transformations of the concepts of nature found in Merleau-Ponty’s work from The Structure of Behavior through The Phenomenology of Perception and the lecture course on Nature to The Visible and the Invisible....

SECTION 3 Art And Nature

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pp. 285-286

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CHAPTER FOURTEEN Listening for the Voice of the Light

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pp. 287-306

Taking as our theme a question from Eye and Mind (“What is depth, what is light, what is being?”), we trace Merleau-Ponty’s final ontological project in its movement to uncover the “genesis of ideality.” Depth (as a third dimension or “voluminosity” through which the presence and absence of things coheres) is, for Merleau- Ponty,...

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CHAPTER FIFTEEN The Eye and the Spirit of Nature

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pp. 307-320

This essay analyzes Merleau-Ponty’s reception of Schelling’s Naturphilosophie by focusing on their shared vision regarding the relationship between art and Nature. In discerning how both thinkers understand this relationship, I argue that the meeting point between these two philosophies is the experience of the tragic nature of ...

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pp. 321-340

This essay takes up the problem of Nature in Schelling and Merleau- Ponty (especially in his late lecture course on Nature) as it comes to be thought from the perspective of the problem of art. The problem of the kinship (Verwandtschaft) of art and Nature is developed through an analysis not only of their respective writings ...


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pp. 341-346


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pp. 347-352

Back Cover

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p. BC-BC

E-ISBN-13: 9781438448480
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438448473

Page Count: 368
Publication Year: 2013