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Heidegger and the Thinking of Place

Explorations in the Topology of Being

Jeff Malpas

Publication Year: 2012

The philosophical significance of place--in Heidegger’s work and as the focus of a distinctive mode of philosophical thinking.

Published by: The MIT Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

I would like to thank Philip Laughlin and the team at the MIT Press for their support in bringing this project to fruition. Thanks are also due to the Australian Research Council for providing the fellowship that enabled this work to be completed, as well as the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for their continuing support over a decade or more. ...

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Introduction: The Thinking of Place

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pp. 1-10

The idea of place—of topos—runs through the thinking of Martin Heidegger almost from the very start. Although not always directly thematized—sometimes apparently obscured, displaced even, by other concepts—and expressed through many different terms (Ort, Ortschaft, Stätte, Gegend, Dasein, Lichtung, Ereignis),1 ...

I: Topological Thinking

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1. The Topos of Thinking

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pp. 13-22

If Heidegger’s thinking is, as he himself says, a “topology of being” (Topologie des Seyns)1—a saying of the place of being—then what is the place that appears here? What is the place of being, and in what place does this thinking take place? ...

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2. The Turning to/of Place

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pp. 23-42

In T. H. White’s magnificent retelling of Malory, The Once and Future King, the character of Merlin has one especially peculiar characteristic: he lives his life backward, from future to past.1 It has always seemed to me that a similarly backward trajectory is particularly suited to the reading of philosophers ...

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3. The Place of Topology

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pp. 43-70

The idea of philosophical topology, or “topography” as I call it outside of the Heideggerian context, takes the idea of place or topos as the focus for the understanding of the human, the understanding of world, and the understanding of the philosophical. Although the idea is not indebted solely to Heidegger’s thinking ...

II: Topological Concepts

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4. Ground, Unity, and Limit

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pp. 73-96

With Heidegger, philosophy seems to have remained in greatness: although Heidegger’s treatment of the question concerning the ground of beings undergoes important shifts in the course of his philosophical career, still the question of ground remains always near the center of his thinking.1 ...

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5. Nihilism, Place, and “Position”

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pp. 97-112

According to late Heidegger, the contemporary world is suffering from an “oblivion of being”—we live, he says, in a “desolate time,” a time of destitution, a time of the “world’s night.”1 He sees this desolation and destitution as most accurately diagnosed by two key thinkers, one of whom is the poet Friedrich Hölderlin and the other the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. ...

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6. Place, Space, and World

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pp. 113-136

The way in which the question of world is implicated with the question of space is already indicated by Heidegger’s very characterization, in Being and Time, of the essence of human being, Dasein, as being-in-the-world. Here the nature of “being in” is as much at issue as is the nature of “world,” ...

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7. Geography, Biology, and Politics

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pp. 137-158

To what extent are those forms of contemporary thinking that adopt a holistic or ecological conception of the relation between human being and the environing world associated, even if only implicitly, with a conservative and reactionary politics? That there is such an association is often claimed in relation to a number of thinkers, ...

III: Topological Horizons

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8. Philosophy’s Nostalgia

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pp. 161-176

What is wrong with nostalgia? How and why has it come to be the case, as it surely has, that to say of a philosophical position that it is “nostalgic” is already to indicate its inadequacy?1 In this chapter I want to examine nostalgia both as a mood or disposition in general, and as a mood or disposition that is characteristic of philosophical reflection. ...

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9. Death and the End of Life

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pp. 177-198

“Eternity is a terrible thought,” says Rosencrantz in Tom Stoppard’s alternative view on Hamlet,“ I mean, where’s it going to end?” And Guildenstern adds a little later,“ Death followed by eternity . . . the worst of both worlds. It is a terrible thought.”1 Death, as they say, is forever, but if the same were true of life ...

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10. Topology, Triangulation, and Truth

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pp. 199-224

Heidegger’s Being and Time is not primarily concerned with questions of interpretation or understanding. Its driving interest is instead ontological—an interest in the question of the “ meaning of being. ” Yet inasmuch as the work adopts a thoroughly hermeneuticized approach to ontology ...

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11. Heidegger in Benjamin’s City

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pp. 225-236

The work of Walter Benjamin is inextricably bound with the images and ideas associated with the metropolitan spaces and places that figure so prominently in his writing, and in close proximity to which his own life, from his childhood in Berlin to the last years in Paris, was lived. ...

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12. The Working of Art

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pp. 237-250

What is the relation between the “objectivity” of an artwork, that is, its material being as an object, and its nature as an artwork?1 The relation is surely not an irrelevant or contingent one, and yet its nature is not at all self-evident. Indeed, in the case of some artworks, namely those that fall within the category of certain forms of so-called conceptual art, ...

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Epilogue: Beginning in Wonder

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pp. 251-268

“It is through wonder [thaumazein],” says Aristotle, “that men now begin and originally began to philosophize”;1 and as Plato tells us, through the mouth of Socrates,“wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder.”2 These sayings are well known, and they are also representative of an important thread that runs through much of the Western philosophical tradition.3 ...


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pp. 269-342


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pp. 343-360


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pp. 361-378

E-ISBN-13: 9780262304139
E-ISBN-10: 0262304139
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262016841
Print-ISBN-10: 0262016842

Page Count: 388
Illustrations: 3 B&W illus.
Publication Year: 2012