Can Place Prehend Philosophy? Spatialisation, Mythic Place and Virtual Time

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  • What is place to philosophy, what is place to thought? The linkage of philosophy and place suggests the question, 'Is this a matter of the philosophy of place or the place of philosophy?' Is it 'philosophy in places' or 'what is place in philosophy?' Place, even in an unexamined sense of the term, is both an object of thought and theoretical attention and the putative ground of thought, a milieu in which problematic events and entities come together in presence for the philosopher – place is a problematic ready to hand, to adopt the Heideggerian phrase. Furthermore, the specificity of places as time-space contexts is inevitably sedimented in concepts and theorems, so that even mathematical axioms hark back to the conditions that allowed the neutral and often three-dimensional space of logical diagrams and propositions to exist. Philosophers scratch away at this context to retrieve these a priori conditions, puzzle at the lack of fit with current contexts or search for neglected aspects of the originary scene that have been overlooked... place grounds thinking and founds philosophy in a constitutive manner. This will take the form of a consideration of place as a prehistory and prehension of philosophical reason. Place is sedimented in theoretical discourse even if it appears only in the mannered phrase that thought 'takes place'. This 'taking place' is littered across the philosophical literature to such a great extent, so often, so repetitiously, that one must wonder about its role. 'Taking place' is an unexamined action that animates the discourse of philosophy. Why construct the process of thought in the linguistic terms of an event 'taking place' where process is reified and immobilized? What service is place giving in this 'taking'? What ritual anointing of events, objects, bodies, occurrences, categories and logical elements lies behind these words? Like a mouse running across a room, 'taking place' is a flicker that catches our eye and once we focus in on it, it upstages all of the other activities that were going on.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
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    Presented at ‘Philosophy and Place.’ Conference of the Graduate Collegium of Eichstaett, ‘Philosophy of the Place’ 13-15 June 2013.