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Malpas (2006:3-6) – ser e lugar

sábado 6 de janeiro de 2024, por Cardoso de Castro


Grande parte do meu argumento poderia ser colocado em termos da ideia de que a questão do ser está de fato subjacente a uma "questão mais radical" — nomeadamente, a questão do lugar — de modo que, na terminologia de van Buren  , ser há que se entender como, poder-se-ia dizer, um "efeito" de lugar. Em rigor, porém, preferiria dizer que ser e lugar estão indissociavelmente ligados de uma forma que não permite que um seja visto apenas como "efeito" do outro, antes ser emerge apenas em e através de lugar. A questão do ser deve ser entendida a esta luz, de tal forma que a questão do ser se desdobra na questão do lugar. Para além disso, uma das características intrigantes do trabalho de van Buren é que, embora não tematize o conceito de lugar de forma significativa, não deixa de pintar um quadro do pensamento inicial de Heidegger em termos de uma proliferação de ideias e imagens de lugar, casa, situação e envolvimento — sugerindo mesmo, a certa altura, que "em 1921 Heidegger já usava o termo Dasein   no sentido de um sítio de ser".


Heidegger’s work is of special relevance to any place-oriented thinker. As Edward Casey   has so admirably set out in his The Fate of Place, [1] the history of place within the Western philosophical tradition   has generally been one in which place has increasingly been seen as secondary to space—typically to a particular notion of space as homogeneous, measurable extension— and so reduced to a notion of position, simple location, or else mere “site.” The way in which place relates to space, time, and other concepts and the manner in which these concepts are configured has seldom been the object of detailed philosophical exploration. Although Casey argues that place has reemerged in recent thought through the work of a number of writers, of whom he takes Heidegger to be one, the way in which place appears in Heidegger’s thought seems to me to be especially significant and also quite special. Unlike Casey, who views Heidegger as proceeding to place by “indirection,” [2] I take Heidegger to have attempted a thinking of being that is centrally oriented to the concept of place as such. In this respect, I concur with Joseph Fell   when he writes that, “The entirety of Heidegger’s thinking turned out to be a protracted effort at remembering the place in which all human experience—practical or theoretical, willed or reasoned, poetic or technical—has always come to pass.” [3] Indeed, I would argue that Heidegger’s work provides us with perhaps the most important and sustained inquiry into place to be found in the history of Western thought.

In this latter respect, the significance of Heidegger as a thinker of place is evident, not   only in terms of the way in which spatial and topographic concepts figure in his own work, nor even the way in which he might be taken as a focus for exploration of some of the problematic aspects of these ideas, but in terms of the manner in which spatial and topographic thinking has flowed from Heidegger’s work into that of other key thinkers over the last   sixty years or more, both through the reaction against those ideas, or against certain interpretations of them, as well as their positive   appropriation. This is an aspect of Heidegger’s work that is gradually being explored in more detail. Stuart Elden, for instance, has argued for a significant Heideggerian influence, specifically in relation to ideas of spatiality, on the work of Michel Foucault  ; [4] while if one accepts Casey’s claim that recent philosophy has seen something of a resurgence in the concept of place, much of that resurgence has to be seen as due to the pivotal influence of Heidegger’s thought and of Heidegger’s own focus, particularly in his later work, on notions of space and place. Understanding the way such notions figure in Heidegger’s work may thus be viewed as foundational to understanding a good deal of contemporary thinking, and recognition of this point seems to be evident in the appearance of a small but steady flow of works over the last few years that do indeed take up aspects of spatial and topological ideas in Heidegger’s work. Stuart Elden’s book on Heidegger and Foucault, referred to above, is one example of this, while Julian Young’s work has been especially important in tracing ideas of place and dwelling in Heidegger’s later thinking, particularly as these ideas arise in relation to Heidegger’s engagement with the early nineteenth-century German poet Friedrich Hölderlin  . [5]

Nevertheless, while there is an increasing recognition of the importance of space and place, it remains the case, especially so far as place itself is concerned, that there has been relatively little analysis of the way in which spatial and topological concepts operate in Heidegger’s thinking as a whole. [6] Undoubtedly, this is partly a result of the fact that Heidegger’s early thought has always tended to command more attention than the later, and in that early work, as I discuss further below (see chapter 3), space and place have a problematic status, while in Heidegger’s later thinking, in which topological notions are more explicitly to the fore, the focus on place comes as part of what has often been seen as an obscure and barely philosophical mysticism. At a more fundamental level, however, the apparent neglect of place in Heidegger’s work undoubtedly reflects the more general neglect of place that Casey brings to our attention and so the relative lack of analytical attention that has hitherto been paid to place as such. Although concepts of space and place have become commonplace in recent discussions across the humanities, arts, and social sciences, there have been few attempts to provide any detailed account of what these concepts actually involve. [7] This is true even of such influential thinkers of place and space such as Lefebvre and Foucault in whose works spatial notions, in particular, function as key analytic tools and yet are not themselves investigated in any detailed fashion. More generally, and especially in regard to place, the tendency is either to assume the notion, or to assume some specific reading of it, or else to view it as a secondary and derivative concept. Indeed, all too often, place is viewed as a function of human responsiveness or affectivity, [8] as a social or cultural “construction,” [9] or else as nothing other than a sort of neutral “site” (perhaps understood in terms of a more or less arbitrary region of physical space) that draws any qualities it might have from that which is located within it. [10] The neglect of place that is evident here can be seen, to some extent, as a result of the seeming “obscurity” that attaches to place as such—place seems an evanescent concept, disappearing in the face of any attempt to inquire into it [11]— we are thus easily led, no matter how persistently the concept may intrude into our thinking, to look to articulate place in other terms (within a Heideggerian frame, the “obscurity” that attaches to place may be seen to reflect the same “obscurity” that attaches to being as such). In some ways, in fact, this is a tendency to which Heidegger himself seems to succumb (at least around the period of Being and Time  ).

Yet what place is and how it ought to be understood is just what is in question—and while the obscurity of place may render answers to such questions all the more elusive, those questions are no less pressing or significant. Building on the foundations already laid in Place and Experience, the present book aims to go some way toward providing more of the analysis that seems to be needed here, and in doing so, to go a little further in establishing the centrality and necessity of place, not only in Heidegger, but in all philosophical inquiry. In attempting to address the question of place as such, the analysis advanced in the following pages should not be seen, any more or less than the analysis in Place and Experience that preceded it, as necessarily incompatible with those many other accounts that deploy spatial and topological notions in analysis and description from more specifically sociological, anthropological, geographical, political, economic, linguistic, literary, or cultural perspectives. [12] In this respect, the hope is that any general account of place will be complementary to the more specific accounts that arise within particular disciplinary approaches (which is not to say that it will be consistent with all such accounts or that it will be inconsistent with all of them either), providing a broader framework within which the analytic and descriptive use of spatial and topological notions can be guided and better understood. Certainly such a hope underpinned my own earlier work in Place and Experience, and the same is true of the investigations that are pursued here in more direct relation to Heidegger.

I have already noted the way in which spatial and topological notions have a problematic status in Heidegger’s early work, and there is no doubt that the idea   of topology emerges as an explicit and central idea for Heidegger quite late in his thinking. Yet the claim I will advance here is that what guides that thinking, if only implicitly, almost from the start, is a conception of philosophy as having its origin in a particular idea, problem, and, we may also say, experience: our finding ourselves already “there,” in the world, in “place.” The famous question of being that is so often referred to by Heidegger himself as the primary focus for his thought thus has to be understood as itself a question determined by this starting point. In his book on the young Heidegger, John van Buren writes that:

Heideggerians in their search for “Being” have for years been after the wrong thing. Despite Heidegger’s continued use of such phrases as “the question of being,” “being as being,” and “being itself,” right up until the unfinished introduction to his collected edition, his question was never really the question of being , but rather the more radical question of what gives or produces being as an effect. [13]

Much of my argument here could be put in terms of the idea that the question of being is indeed underlain by a “more radical question”—namely, the question of place—so that, in van Buren’s terminology, being has to be understood as, one might say, an “effect” of place. Strictly speaking, however, I would prefer to say that being and place are inextricably bound together in a way that does not allow one to be seen merely as an “effect” of the other, rather being emerges only in and through place. The question of being must be understood in this light, such that the question of being itself unfolds into the question of place. Moreover, one of the intriguing features of van Buren’s work is that, while he does not thematize the concept of place in any significant way, he nevertheless paints a picture of Heidegger’s early thinking in terms of a proliferation of ideas and images of place, home, situatedness, and involvement [14]—even suggesting, at one point, that “in 1921 Heidegger already used the term Dasein in the sense of a site of being.” [15]

Ver online : JEFF MALPAS

MALPAS, Jeff. Heidegger’s topology: being, place, world. Cambridge (Mass.): MIT Press, 2006

[1Edward S. Casey, The Fate of Place (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996).

[2See Casey, The Fate of Place, pp. 243ff; see also my review of Casey in “Remembering Place (Edward S. Casey, The Fate of Place),” International Journal of Philosophical Studies 10 (2002), 92-100. To what extent Heidegger’s pathway should indeed be viewed as “indirect” seems to me a matter open to debate.

[3Fell, “Heidegger’s Mortals and Gods,” Research in Phenomenology 15 (1985), 29.

[4See Stuart Elden, Mapping the Present: Heidegger, Foucault, and the Project of a Spatial History (London: Continuum, 2001), esp. pp. 1-7.

[5See Julian Young, Heidegger’s Philosophy of Art (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000) and Heidegger’s Later Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002). Other recent works that are relevant include: James Phillips, Heidegger’s Volk: Between National Socialism and Poetry (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005); Charles Bambach, Heidegger’s Roots: Nietzsche, National Socialism, and the Greeks (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003); and also Miguel de Beistegui, Heidegger and the Political: Dystopias (London: Routledge, 1998). In Hölderlin: The Poetics of Being (Detroit: Wayne University Press, 1991), Adrian Del Caro takes a Heideggerian approach to Hölderlin himself (although a Heideggerian approach taken, notes Del Caro, “with more than a grain of salt,” Hölderlin: The Poetics of Being, p. 21).

[6Joseph Fell’s Heidegger and Sartre: An Essay on Being and Place (New York: Columbia University Press, 1979) was one of the first works to investigate the idea of place throughout Heidegger’s work, while Heidegger’s treatment of place is, as noted above, also dealt with in Casey’s The Fate of Place, as well as having a role, though not taken up in any detail, in Julian Young’s work referred to above—see his “Poets and Rivers: Heidegger on Hölderlin’s Der Ister,” Dialogue 28 (1999), 391-416, and “What is Dwelling? The Homelessness of Modernity and the Worlding of the World,” in Mark Wrathall and Jeff Malpas (eds.), Heidegger, Modernity, and Authenticity—Essays in Honor of Hubert Dreyfus, vol. 1 (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000), pp. 187-204. It is notable, however, that most of the treatment of Heidegger on this topic takes space rather than place as the main theme of investigation. To some extent, this is true even of Stuart Elden’s Mapping the Present: Heidegger and Foucault on the Project of a Spatial History, even though Elden gives explicit recognition to a distinct concept of place (“Ort”) in Heidegger that stands apart from space and also from the notion of mere “location” (Platz)—see Mapping the Present, pp. 36-37. Didier Franck’s, Heidegger et le problème de l’éspace (Paris: Minuit, 1986) discusses the problem of spatiality in general, although with specific reference to Being and Time, while Alejandro Vallega, in Heidegger and the Issue of Space: Thinking on Exilic Grounds (University Park: Pennsylvania University Press, 2003), deals with aspects of Heidegger’s treatment of space as these relate to concepts of exile and alterity. Emil Kettering’s Nähe: Das Denken Martin Heideggers (Pfüllingen: Neske, 1987) addresses the idea of “nearness” as a central element in Heidegger’s thinking. Specific discussions of spatiality occur in: Yoko Arisaka, “Heidegger’s Theory of Space: A Critique of Dreyfus,” Inquiry 38 (1995), 455-467 and “Spatiality, Temporality, and the Problem of Foundation in Being and Time,” Philosophy Today 40 (1996), 36-46; Robert Frodeman, “Being and Space: A Re-Reading of Existential Spatiality in Being and Time,” Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 23 (1992), 23-35; FriedrichWilhelm von Herrmann, “Wahrheit-Zeit-Raum,” in Die Frage nach der Wahrheit (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1997), pp. 243-271; Maria Villela-Petit, “Heidegger’s Conception of Space,” in Christopher Macann (ed.), Critical Heidegger (London: Routledge, 1996), pp. 134-157; and in Gjermund Wollan, “Heidegger’s Philosophy of Space and Place,” Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift-Norwegian Journal of Geography 57 (2003), 31-39. Heidegger’s later thinking, particularly in relation to the concept of dwelling (a concept that is clearly very closely tied to notions of space and place), has also been an important focus for a range of discussions in architecture (see the work of Christian Norberg-Schulz , especially his Concept of Dwelling: On the Way to Figurative Architecture [New York: Rizzoli, 1985]), as well as in “humanistic” geography (see, for instance, Edward Relph, “Geographical Experiences and Being-in-theWorld: The Phenomenological Origins of Geography,” in David Seamon and Robert Mugerauer [eds.], Dwelling, Place, and Experience: Towards a Phenomenology of Person and World [Dordrecht: Nijhof, 1985], pp. 15-31).

[7It is this apparent gap in the literature that Place and Experience was intended to fill. Earlier works that make a case for the significance of place, although they tend not to provide any detailed analysis of the concept, include: Anne Buttimer and David Seamon (eds.), The Human Experience of Space and Place (London: Croom Helm, 1980); J. Nicolas Entrikin, The Betweenness of Place (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991); Tony Hiss, The Experience of Place (New York: Random House, 1990); Edward Relph, Place and Placelessness (London: Pion, 1976); E. V. Walter, Placeways (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1988); Yi-Fu Tuan, Topophilia (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1974); Edward S. Casey, Getting Back into Place (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993). Even Casey’s work has often tended more toward a descriptive phenomenological approach rather than to an investigation of the way the concepts of place and space are themselves structured—see the exchange between Casey and myself in Philosophy and Geography 4 (2001), 225-240.

[8As I note in Place and Experience, p. 30n33, to some extent this is a feature even of the pioneering work of such place-sensitive writers as Yi-Fu Tuan.

[9This is exactly the claim made by David Harvey (who also figures in the discussion below): “Places, like space and time, are social constructs and have to be read and understood as such”—Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), p. 324. Although I may be thought to be displaying a typically “philosophical” prejudice, I would suggest that the very idea of “social construct” that is invoked by Harvey here is highly problematic, all the more so when applied to notions such as place, space, and time. Are we to suppose that the “social” somehow stands outside of place, space, and time—undetermined by them, but determining of them? Indeed, the reification of the “social” that appears here, and its apparent prioritization over other concepts, threatens to turn the “social” into something fundamental and yet almost completely inexplicable.

[10In a review of Place and Experience in Mind 110 (2001), 789-792, Bruin Christensen seems to assume just such a view of place, and from it he infers the obvious falsity of the claim (advanced in Place and Experience) that place has any determining or constituting role in relation to self-identity. Although Christensen agrees that everything has to be “in” place, he claims that nothing significant follows from this in terms of the identity of that which is in place since places are constituted and determined by the entities located within those places, not the other way around. Yet not only does this ignore the explicitly holistic account of place and the relation between place and other elements that is advanced in Place and Experience (and that is also a key element in the argument that I develop in relation to Heidegger), but it also assumes a very specific understanding of place that is itself open to challenge.

[11Hence the title of the opening chapter of Place and Experience: “The Obscurity of Place.”

[12Although it should be noted that the general account of place that I argue can be found in Heidegger and that is also a feature of my own work will be inconsistent with any account that cannot allow for what I explain in sec. 5.2 below in terms of the “iridescence” of things—the possibility for things to be disclosed in multiple ways. Consequently, reductionist approaches and approaches that insist on the unique exclusivity of certain vocabularies or of certain descriptive or analytic schemata will turn out not to be compatible with the sort of topological or topographic approach that I elaborate here and which is also to be found in Place and Experience.

[13John van Buren, The Young Heidegger: Rumour of the Hidden King (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994), p. 38. See also Thomas Sheehan, “A Paradigm Shift in Heidegger Research,” Continental Philosophy Review 34 (2001), p. 188.

[14See especially his discussion in The Young Heidegger, chaps. 12-13, pp. 250ff.

[15Van Buren, The Young Heidegger, p. 251.