Nature and Logos

A Whiteheadian Key to Merleau-Ponty's Fundamental Thought

By William S. Hamrick & Jan Van der Veken

Subjects: Environmental Philosophy, Phenomenology, Process Philosophy, Philosophy, American Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438436166, 273 pages, January 2012
Hardcover : 9781438436173, 273 pages, June 2011

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Table of contents

1. Nature as a Phenomenon
2. From Dualism to a Twofold Ontology
3. The Way of All Flesh
4. Logos Endiathetos and Logos Proforikos
5. The Schellingian and Bergsonian Heritage
6. Nature and Life
7. Beyond the Limits of Phenomenology: The Fate of the Subject
8. Com‑prehending the Flesh

Exploration of Alfred North Whitehead's influence on Maurice Merleau-Ponty's ontology of nature.


This is the first booklength account of how Maurice Merleau-Ponty used certain texts by Alfred North Whitehead to develop an ontology based on nature, and how he could have used other Whitehead texts that he did not know in order to complete his last ontology. This account is enriched by several of Merleau-Ponty's unpublished writings not previously available in English, by the first detailed treatment of certain works by F. W.J. Schelling in the course of showing how they exerted a substantial influence on both Merleau-Ponty and Whitehead, and by the first extensive discussion of Merleau-Ponty's interest in the Stoics's notion of the twofold logos—the logos endiathetos and the logos proforikos. This book provides a thorough exploration of the consonance between these two philosophers in their mutual desire to overcome various bifurcations of nature, and of nature from spirit, that continued to haunt philosophy and science since the 17th-century.

William S. Hamrick is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville and has written and edited several books, including (with coeditor Suzanne L. Cataldi) Merleau-Ponty and Environmental Philosophy: Dwelling on the Landscapes of Thought, also published by SUNY Press. Jan Van der Veken is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the Catholic University of Leuven and has written and edited several books, including (with coeditor Patrick Burke) Merleau-Ponty in Contemporary Perspectives.


"…an immensely important contribution … Nature and Logos is an exemplary work of scholarship … Hamrick and Van der Veken present an exciting, creative, and relevant contribution to the ongoing task of experiencing and conceptualizing the profundity of the world. " — Worldviews

"Nature and Logos is one of the most important works on Merleau-Ponty's philosophy to appear recently. The authors' erudition and painstaking scholarship inform their original perspective. This is an indispensable work, a tour-de-force offering another important piece to the puzzle of understanding the sometimes enigmatic later work of Merleau-Ponty. " — Duane H. Davis, editor of Merleau-Ponty's Later Works and Their Practical Implications: The Dehiscence of Responsibility

"This represents a definite advance in philosophical scholarship. The book adds to our interest and understanding of Merleau-Ponty and Whitehead. " — Robert Daud, Pasadena City College