Research Interests


Gert-Jan van der Heiden mainly works on contemporary developments in metaphysics, hermeneutics and phenomenology, with a special interest in contemporary French thought.

Hermeneutics as Speaking for the Other

In 2012, a book appeared in Dutch entitled De stem van de doden. Hermeneutiek als spreken namens de ander (The Voice of the Dead. Hermeneutics as Speaking for the Other) which explores a range of hermeneutic themes such as interpretation, dialogue, translation, testimony, narrative, poetics, the original meaning of hermeneuein, tradition and heritage from the perspective of the indispensable speaking for the other in these phenomena. This manuscript is published by Uitgeverij Vantilt, Nijmegen, 2012.

Conflicting Pluralities

Recently, van der Heiden finished a project entitled Conflicting Pluralities: Rethinking Reality in Contemporary Philosophy funded by NWO. A project description can be found here. This project has resulted in a monograph entitled Ontology after Ontotheology: Plurality, Event, and Contingency in Contemporary Philosophy. It has been accepted for publication by Duquesne UP, Pittsburgh, and will appear in 2014.

This study discusses how authors such as Agamben, Badiou, Heidegger, Nancy, Meillassoux and Romano are engaged in an effort to think the possibility of metaphysics and ontology after Heidegger's interpretation of metaphysics as ontotheology. It is argued that the contemporary attention to concepts such as plurality and event should be understood out of this attempt to rethink the task and the scope of ontology, which, today, can only be an ontology of contingency.

In addition, based on the contributions to the international conference Thinking Plurality, held from June 12-14, 2013 in Nijmegen, a volume with the same title will be published in 2014 dealing with similar topics with an emphasis on the concept of plurality.

Saint Paul in Present-Day Philosophy

This is a joint research project with Ben Vedder and Geurt Henk van Kooten (RUG) concerning Saint Paul's notion of faith and its interpretation in present-day philosophy. It is entitled Overcoming the Faith-Reason Opposition: Pauline Pistis in Contemporary Philosophy funded by NWO as a Humanities Free Competition project running from August 2012 until October 2016.

This project examines the impact and the meaning of the present-day, mostly secular philosophical readings of the Letters of Saint Paul for the conception of faith and reason. It comprises three sub projects.

(1) The first sub project examines why present-day continental philosophers such as Alain Badiou and Giorgio Agamben turn to Paul and what they find in his letters. The researcher is Ezra Delahaye.

(2) The second sub project places Paul among his philosophic contemporaries and examines Paul's use of pistis and pisteuein by comparing it use with the way in which ancient philosophers such as Plutarch and Epictetus use them. The researcher is Suzan Sierksma.

(3) The third sub project examines how the reading of Paul's letters influences and guides the development of the themes of attestation, testimony and declaration in present-day continental philosophy. The researcher is Antonio Cimino.