The Barbarian Principle

Merleau-Ponty, Schelling, and the Question of Nature

Edited by Jason M. Wirth & Patrick Burke

Subjects: German Idealism, Phenomenology, Environmental Philosophy, Philosophy, Ecology
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438448466, 368 pages, July 2014
Hardcover : 9781438448473, 368 pages, September 2013

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Table of contents

Part I. Orientations
1. The Reawakening of the Barbarian Principle
Jason M. Wirth
2. Prefatory Meditations
Patrick Burke
Part II. Schelling and Nature
3. Unfolding the Hidden Logos (Or: Much Ado about Nothing)
Joseph P. Lawrence
4. Schelling on Plato’s Timaeus
Kyriaki Goudeli
5. On the Relation Between Nature and History in Schelling’s Freedom Essay and Spinoza’s Thelogico-Political Treatise
Jeffrey A. Bernstein
6. Eternal Times: Schelling on Creation, Contemporaneity, and the Unconscious
Vasiliki Tsakiri
Part III. Merleau-Ponty and Schelling in Conversation

Section 1: Overviews
7. Être sauvage and the Barbarian Principle: Merleau-Ponty’s Reading of Schelling
Robert Vallier
8. Être brut or Nature: Merleau-Ponty Surveys Schelling
Josep Maria Bech
Section 2: Particular Themes
9. Freedom as the Experience of Nature: Schelling and Merleau-Ponty on the Open Space in Nature
Annette Hilt
10. Finding the Body’s Place in Nature: Merleau-Ponty on Schelling’s “Phenomenology of Pre-Reflective Being”
Angelica Nuzzo
11. Nature and Self-Knowledge: On Schelling’s Ambiguous Role in Merleau-Ponty’s The Concept of Nature
Carolyn Culbertson
12. Reading the Barbarous Source: Merleau-Ponty’s Structural History and Schelling
Stephen H. Watson
13. Nature’s Inside
Bernard Flynn
Section 3: Art and Nature
14. Listening for the Voice of the Light: Mythical Time through the Musical Idea
Jessica Wiskus
15. The Eye and the Spirit of Nature: Some Reflections on Merleau-Ponty’s Reading of Schelling Concerning the Relationship between Art and Nature
Marcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback
16. The Art of Nature: On the Agony of the Will in Schelling and Merleau-Ponty
Jason M. Wirth

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


Toward the end of his life, Maurice Merleau-Ponty made a striking retrieval of F. W. J. Schelling's philosophy of nature. The Barbarian Principle explores the relationship between these two thinkers on this topic, opening up a dialogue with contemporary philosophical and ecological significance that will be of special interest to philosophers working in phenomenology and German idealism.

Jason M. Wirth is Professor of Philosophy at Seattle University and the author of The Conspiracy of Life: Meditations on Schelling and His Time, also published by SUNY Press. Patrick Burke is Professor of Philosophy at Gonzaga University and is Dean of Gonzaga-in-Florence.


"[The book] would be of interest to students of both Merleau-Ponty and Schelling for the clash of the titans aspect: it is fascinating to see how thinkers from such different starting-points and traditions end up standing so close to one another on these fundamental questions, and thought-provoking, too, to see where unresolvable differences remain." — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"The Barbarian Principle is an excellent contribution to the study of Schelling and Merleau-Ponty. For the Schelling scholar or student, it opens a new horizon for reconsidering Schelling's influence on twentieth-century continental philosophy in general, and phenomenology in particular (where much interest has been paid to Heidegger). For the Merleau-Ponty scholar or student, this volume demonstrates that Merleau-Ponty's engagement with German idealism extends well beyond the interrogation of Hegel or Kant." — Devin Zane Shaw, author of Freedom and Nature in Schelling's Philosophy of Art