Place and Positionality – Anthropo(topo)logical Thinking with Helmuth Plessner

  • Annika SchlitteEmail author
Part of the Contributions To Phenomenology book series (CTPH, volume 95)


This paper explores a possible anthropological dimension of place by providing an interpretation of Helmuth Plessner’s philosophical approach which proposes to understand it as a twofold “implacement” of man – discussing both the place of man in the natural world and man’s specific relation to place that makes him take his place in the natural world. The interpretation follows Plessner’s idea of a natural set of stages, developed in his major work Die Stufen des Organischen und der Mensch, leading from inanimate objects to plants, animals, and humans. According to Plessner, each stage differs from the other by virtue of its respective spatial delineation toward, and its position in, the world. With the paradoxical concept of man’s “eccentric positionality”, Plessner accounts for the exceptional position of man without thereby neglecting, on the one hand, his being part of nature, and, without falling prey to naturalism, on the other. Thus, Plessner offers an interesting perspective on place that also points beyond mere anthropocentrism.


Helmuth Plessner Philosophical anthropology Philosophy of nature Place Space Boundary Positionality 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PhilosophyJohannes-Gutenberg University MainzMainzGermany
  2. 2.Interdisciplinary Research Group on “Philosophy of Place”Catholic University of Eichstätt-IngolstadtEichstättGermany

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