Ludwig Wittgenstein and Martin Heidegger are two of the most important--and two of the most difficult--philosophers of the twentieth century, indelibly influencing the course of continental and analytic philosophy, respectively. In Groundless Grounds, Lee Braver argues that the views of both thinkers emerge from a fundamental attempt to create a philosophy that has dispensed with everything transcendent so that we may be satisfied with the human. Examining the central topics of their thought in detail, Braver finds that Wittgenstein and Heidegger construct a philosophy based on original finitude--finitude without the contrast of the infinite.
In Braver’s elegant analysis, these two difficult bodies of work offer mutual illumination rather than compounded obscurity. Moreover, bringing the most influential thinkers in continental and analytic philosophy into dialogue with each other may enable broader conversations between these two divergent branches of philosophy.
Braver’s meticulously researched and strongly argued account shows that both Wittgenstein and Heidegger strive to construct a new conception of reason, free of the illusions of the past and appropriate to the kind of beings that we are. Readers interested in either philosopher, or concerned more generally with the history of twentieth-century philosophy as well as questions of the nature of reason, will find Groundless Grounds of interest.
About the Author
Lee Braver is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Hiram College in Ohio. He is the author of a number of articles and two previous books, A Thing of This World: A History of Continental Anti-Realism and Heidegger’s Later Writings: A Reader’s Guide.
"In this admirable book, Lee Braver sets out to bring out the parallels on various levels and on a wide range of subjects in the work of Martin Heidegger and Ludwig Wittgenstein, two elusive, and idiosyncratic thinkers. Thanks to his amazing grasp of what may well be the total works of Martin Heidegger and of Ludwig Wittgenstein, (as well as the views of a vast selection of relevant commentators) he is able to bring out deep parallels in the thought of these two thinkers. Indeed, Braver's unlikely project turns out to be a great success. Each of these difficult thinkers becomes more intelligible and convincing when read in the light of the other."
Hubert L. Dreyfus, Professor of Philosophy in the Graduate School, University of California, Berkeley
"Continuing the project of his, A Thing of this World, Lee Braver once again shows how the traditions of analytic and continental philosophy overlap. Groundless Ground, however, demonstrates this philosophical intersection by investigating, in depth and in the clearest terms, the thought of Martin Heidegger and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Braver makes a strong argument not for moving beyond the analytic and continental traditions. Rather, Braver moves contemporary philosophy forward, beyond idealism and realism, by means of the thought of 'original finitude.' There can be no question that Groundless Ground is an important book."
Leonard Lawlor, Sparks Professor of Philosophy, Penn State University