Heidegger and the Thinking of Place

Heidegger and the Thinking of Place

Explorations in the Topology of Being

By Jeff Malpas

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





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

The idea of place—topos—runs through Martin Heidegger's thinking almost from the very start. It can be seen not only in his attachment to the famous hut in Todtnauberg but in his constant deployment of topological terms and images and in the situated, “placed” character of his thought and of its major themes and motifs. Heidegger's work, argues Jeff Malpas, exemplifies the practice of “philosophical topology.” In Heidegger and the Thinking of Place, Malpas examines the topological aspects of Heidegger's thought and offers a broader elaboration of the philosophical significance of place. Doing so, he provides a distinct and productive approach to Heidegger as well as a new reading of other key figures—notably Kant, Aristotle, Gadamer, and Davidson, but also Benjamin, Arendt, and Camus.

Malpas, expanding arguments he made in his earlier book Heidegger's Topology (MIT Press, 2007), discusses such topics as the role of place in philosophical thinking, the topological character of the transcendental, the convergence of Heideggerian topology with Davidsonian triangulation, the necessity of mortality in the possibility of human life, the role of materiality in the working of art, the significance of nostalgia, and the nature of philosophy as beginning in wonder. Philosophy, Malpas argues, begins in wonder and begins in place and the experience of place. The place of wonder, of philosophy, of questioning, he writes, is the very topos of thinking.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262016841 388 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 3 b&w illus.


$30.00 X ISBN: 9780262533676 388 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 3 b&w illus.


  • A brilliant job....This book constitutes another impressive achievement by Jeff Malpas in reconsidering the importance and sense of place, not only Heidegger's work, but also more broadly in philosophy itself.

    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews


  • Jeff Malpas's Heidegger and the Thinking of Place is a powerful companion volume of essays to his earlier Heidegger's Topology, but can also stand alone as an introduction to the crucial theme of place in Heidegger's work. Especially powerful is the triptych of essays in the third part on nostalgia, death, and truth, which move from the thinking of place to thinking through place. Malpas's ongoing dialogue with Heidegger goes to the heart of both thinker's concerns, and demonstrates Malpas's ability both to discuss complicated questions clearly and to show the complications in what previously appeared clear.

    Stuart Elden

    Professor of Political Geography, Durham University

  • Heidegger and The Thinking of Place not only confirms Jeff Malpas as a central interpreter of Heidegger, it reinforces his position as one of the most significant philosophers writing on the concept of place today. Henceforth it will be impossible to work on either 'topos' or 'place' without talking Malpas's writings as the point of departure. Malpas works between and across traditions. If philosophy is to have a future that lifts it beyond the confines of commentary on the one hand or political posturing on the other then it is work by a philosopher such as Jeff Malpas that will show the way.

    Andrew Benjamin

    Professor of Critical Theory and Philosophical Aesthetics, Director Research Unit in European Philosophy, Monash University

  • Almost single-handedly, Jeff Malpas has created a new philosophical topic, that of 'place'. Heidegger and the Thinking of Place far exceeds the bounds of Heidegger exegesis. It is a major work by the most original philosopher working in Australasia today.

    Julian Young

    Kenan Professor of Humanities, Wake Forest University