Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Malpas on Heidegger's Topology and Later Heidegger

Jeff Malpas provides a critique of Edward Relph's critique of his Heidegger's Topology: Being, Place, World. The last four paragraphs are particularly interesting:
Heidegger’s Topology attempts to provide an account of the way in which place provides a starting point for Heidegger’ s thinking as well as an idea toward which it develops. Indeed, it is only in the very late thinking, from perhaps 1947 onward, that Heidegger’s topology emerges in a fully developed form (although a form that can only be appreciated when viewed in terms of the problems in the earlier thinking to which it is also a response).

If we are to take Heidegger as making a significant contribution to the philosophical analysis of place in the 20th century, then it must be primarily on the basis of the later thinking rather than the earlier. But the later thinking also makes demands on the reader that are much greater than those of the earlier work—demands that follow, in part, from Heidegger’ s own attempts to think topologically—and as a result the later thinking is more prone to being misread and misconstrued.

I had hoped that Heidegger’s Topology would go some way toward correcting this tendency, but if Relph’s comments are taken as an indication, the work would seem to have fallen short of at least one of its objectives. On the other hand, if the sort of topology or topography in which I take Heidegger to have been engaged and to which I take my own work to be a contribution does constitute a different, if not entirely unprecedented, mode of thinking, then perhaps one simply has to accept certain inevitable difficulties in the communication and elucidation of that thinking.

Heidegger’s Topology does not, however, stand alone. Not only does it seem to me to be supported by the work of others in the same field, most notably, by that of Ed Casey, but it should also be read against the background of my other work. In this respect, Heidegger’s Topology is only the second book in what should be a sequence of works that will together, I hope, provide a more fully elaborated account of the philosophical topology that is adumbrated in Heidegger.

I believe the second book is his Place and Experience: A Philosophical Topography. I'll be getting both soon (for my thesis) and look forward to reading his insights.

4 Comments:

Blogger Clark Goble said...

Out of curiosity does he situate it at all relative to Derrida?

9:07 PM  
Blogger Kevin Winters said...

He doesn't mention Derrida in the interview and I don't know if he uses him in either of his books, but I'll take a look once I get them.

9:11 PM  
Blogger richard said...

I've only read _Heidegger's Topology_. As far as that book goes, there is no mention of Derrida that I can recall, at least none of any substance.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous Chris Rice said...

Hi there-- I just wanted to say that this is very interesting blog and I'm glad I came across it. I'm currently working on my MA thesis which is centered around Heidegger and Taylor's understanding of historicty and situatedness.

There's a really fascinating discussion--though I must confess it's quite wordy and sometimes bogged down with excessive footnotes-- on space in Being and Time that a tutor of mine recently published. You can find it here if you're interested:

Baiasu, Roxanna, 2007, “Being and Time and the Problem of Space”, Research in Phenomenology, Vol. 37 (3), 324-356.

2:51 PM  

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