From Mastery to Mystery
A Phenomenological Foundation for an Environmental Ethic

By Bryan E. Bannon

From Mastery to Mystery is an original and provocative contribution to the burgeoning field of ecophenomenology. Informed by current debates in environmental philosophy, Bannon critiques the conception of nature as  “substance” that he finds tacitly assumed by the major environmental theorists. Instead, this book reconsiders the basic goals of an environmental ethic by questioning the most basic presupposition that most environmentalists accept: that nature is in need of preservation.

Beginning with Bruno Latour’s idea that continuing to speak of nature in the way we popularly conceive of it is ethically and politically disastrous, this book describes a way in which the concept of nature can retain its importance in our discussion of the contemporary state of the environment. Based upon insights from the phenomenological tradition, specifically the work of Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, the concept of nature developed in the book preserves the best antihumanistic intuitions of environmentalists without relying on either a reductionistic understanding of nature and the sciences or dualistic metaphysical constructions.

Bryan E. Bannon is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of North Florida.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction
    The Question of Nature
  • 1 The Promise of a Common World
  • i. Nature and the Modern World
  • ii. Rejecting Naturpolitik
  • iii. Re-collecting the Pluriverse into a Common World
  • iv. Conclusion
  • 2 Science, Technology, and the Closure of Nature
  • i. Phenomenology and Subjectivism
  • ii. The Twofold Essence of Physis at the Inception of Philosophy
  • iii. The Rise of Technology and the Devastation of the Earth
  • iv. Conclusion
  • 3 The Opening of the Earth
  • i. Deciding against the System of Nature
  • ii. Ereignis and the Restoration of Nature
  • iii. Conclusion
  • 4 Merleau-Ponty and Nature as the Common World
  • i. The Behavior of Nature
  • ii. Reading the Prose of the World
  • iii. The Flesh of Nature
  • iv. A Prospect from within Nature
  • v. The Dialectic of Nature and History
  • vi. Conclusion
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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In Series

Series in Continental Thought, № 46

Related Subjects

Continental Philosophy · Environmental Studies



Retail price: $34.95, S.
Release date: Jan. 2014
208 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights: World


Retail price: $80.00, S.
Release date: Jan. 2014
208 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights: World


Release date: Jan. 2014
Rights: World