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Heidegger's Topology of Being


Malpas, J, Heidegger's Topology of Being, Transcendental Heidegger, Stanford University Press, Steven Crowell and Jeff Malpas (ed), Stanford, pp. 119-134. ISBN 9780804755115 (2007) [Research Book Chapter]

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Hans-Georg Gadamer, perhaps Heidegger's best-known student, described his own work as an attempt to adhere to, and to make accessible in a new way, the line of thinking developed by Heidegger in his essay, first given as a series of lectures three times between 1935 and 1936, "The Origin of the Work of Art" ("Der Ursprung des Kunstwerks"). In this essay Heidegger argues that the work of an 1S not to be construed in representational terms but rather in its character, as a work, in opening and establishing a world. Heidegger takes as his central example a Greek temple (in fact. he seems to have ill mind a very specific temple, the temple of Hera at Paestum), of which he writes:

A building, a Greek temple, portrays nothing. It simply stands there in the middle of the rock-cleft valley. The building encloses the figure of the god, and in this concealment lets it stand out into the holy precinct through the open portico. By means of the temple, the god IS present in the temple . .. . [The temple] first fits together and at the same time gathers around itself the unity of those paths and relations in which birth and death, disaster and blessing, victory and disgrace, endurance and decline acquire the shape of destiny for human being. The all-governing expanse of this open relational context is the world of this historical people.... The temple-work, standing there, opens up a world .... the temple, in its standing there, first gives to things their look and to men their outlook on themselves.
Crucial to this account is the role of the artwork in the establishing of a world, where such "establishing" is Seen as identical with the "happening" of truth, understood, not uncontroversially, as that which first allows things to be seen and so enables the possibility of particular truths. Heidegger thus focuses on the way in which a particular thing opens up a realm of understanding and illumination that goes beyond the particular thing itself. The particular thing, most characteristically the artwork, stands at the center of a larger horizon in which other things, an entire world, are brought to light within an essentially relational context (for they are shown in their relation to the thing that stands at the center of the horizon). For Gadamer, this account provides the basis for the development of a hermeneutic theory as well as an aesthetics; for me, what is of interest is its broader significance for philosophy and ontology - as well as for the idea of the transcendental.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:Hans-Georg Gadamer, topology of being, place of being
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:Philosophy
Research Field:Metaphysics
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in philosophy and religious studies
UTAS Author:Malpas, J (Professor Jeff Malpas)
ID Code:56366
Year Published:2007
Deposited By:Philosophy
Deposited On:2009-04-27
Last Modified:2012-11-19
Downloads:20 View Download Statistics

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