Heidegger y Wittgenstein

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  • 8/13/2019 Heidegger y Wittgenstein


    International Phenomenological Society

    Philosophy after Wittgenstein and HeideggerAuthor(s): Charles GuignonSource: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 50, No. 4 (Jun., 1990), pp. 649-672Published by: International Phenomenological SocietyStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2108228.

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  • 8/13/2019 Heidegger y Wittgenstein


    PhilosophyandPhenomenological esearchVol. L, No. 4, June i990

    Philosophy f t e r ittgensteinn d eidegger

    CHARLES GUIGNONUniversityof Vermont

    1. Philosophy's"LegitimateHeir"RichardRorty begana seriesof lectures n the early seventiesby saying,"Justas no one in the nineteenthcenturycouldgo on doing philosophywithoutcomingto termswith Kant,so no one in ourcenturycango ondoing philosophywithout comingto terms with Wittgensteinand Hei-degger."Thoughnot everyonewould agreewith this judgment, t doespose an interestingquestionaboutwhat it is we aresupposed o come totermswithinthewritingsof thesetwo figures.How arewe to understandthe upshotof theirthoughtforphilosophy?Rortyhimselfseemsto holdthat Wittgensteinand Heideggerare masterdiagnosticians f the tradi-tion whose"therapies"nd "de-structions" aveenabledus to stop doingphilosophy.In contrast,CharlesTaylorclaims that theirwritingsopenthewayto a newtypeof inquiry ntotheconditions or thepossibilityofintentionality.nhis view, whattheyoffer sa "critique f epistemology nwhich we discoversomethingdeeperand more validabout ourselves asagents], . . somethingof our deepor authenticnatureas selves."'Rortyreplies hat Taylorhasgone onlyhalfway ngraspingheconsequences fWittgenstein'sand Heidegger's hought.For if humanbeingsare truly"self-interpretingnimals," f theyare"interpretationll thewaydown"(inthe phraseTaylorborrows romH. L.Dreyfus), hen "thereare ots ofwaysto describe,andthusto study,humanbeings,"and hence"there sno metaphysicalprivilegeattached o [the] way of describing hem"asagentsthat Tayloradvocates.'Taylor,for his part, thinksRortyis tooprecipitousn takingthecollapseof foundationalismo meantheend ofphilosophy.WhatWittgenstein ndHeidegger how us is not how to shut

    I "Overcoming pistemology,"n K. Baynes,J. Bohman,andT. McCarthy, ds., AfterPhilosophy: End or Transformation? (Cambridge: The MIT Press, i987), pp. 482-83(henceforth OE").2 "AbsolutelyNon-Absolute,"TimesLiterary upplement,December , i985, p. 1379.


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  • 8/13/2019 Heidegger y Wittgenstein


    philosophydown, but how to open upa new, nonfoundationalist ind ofinquiry hat can shore up our views on politics and society.Behind his debate s thesharedassumption hat Wittgenstein ndHei-deggerhaveunderminedwhatRortycalls"epistemology-centeredhilos-ophy,"andso have permanentlyhifted hegroundon whichphilosophymoves.In what follows, I want to examinesomeof the convergencesnthe writingsof Wittgenstein ndHeidegger hatjustify his assumption,focusingespeciallyon theirdescriptions f oureverydaypredicament sagents nthe worldandon theirvisionsof the role of languagenour lives.But there s a deeperquestionIwant to address,andthat is the question:Whatdirectiondoes their houghtpointfor thefutureof philosophy? s itpurely negative, undermining raditionalphilosophical questions andputtingnothingnewintheirplace?Or is it positive nthe senseof pavingthewayto a refurbished nd transformed hilosophy?Wittgenstein ncespoke of the "legitimateheir" of the subject which used to be called"philosophy."" he question, hen, is: What, if anything, s philosophy'slegitimateheir? Although t will be impossible o argue for it here, myhunch s that Taylor'spositivevision of the futureof philosophy s moredefensible.

    At firstsight it mightseem bizarre o thinkthat Wittgenstein nd Hei-deggercan be comparedat all. Heidegger'sBeingand Timeannouncesitself asa work of "fundamental ntology"whoseaimis to laya founda-tion for the regionalsciencesby posing"thequestionof the meaningofBeing."Itsturgidproseandheavy-handed rchitectonicmark t asaworkin the grandtraditionof metaphysics.The writingsof the laterWittgen-stein,in contrast,consistof sprightlyaphorisms,piecemeal herapies or"whatwe aretempted o say,"andoften inconclusive xchangeswithanunidentifiednterlocutor.Where Heidegger s steepedin the history ofphilosophyandwantsto "de-structurehe historyof ontology,"Wittgen-

    Wittgenstein,TheBlue and BrownBooks (NewYork:HarperTorchbooks, 95 8), pp.28, 62 (hereafter ited as BB). In the text I also use the followingabbreviations:romworks by Wittgenstein, hilosophical nvestigations,rans.G. E. M. Anscombe NewYork:Macmillan,967) = PI; On Certainty,rans.D. PaulandG. E. M. Anscombe(New York: Harper Torchbooks, i969) = OC; Philosophical Remarks, trans.R. Hargreaves nd R. White (Oxford:BasilBlackwell, 975) = PR; Remarks n theFoundationsof Mathematics, rans. G. E. M. Anscombe (Cambridge:MIT Press,i983) = RFM;Zettel, trans.G. E. M. Anscombe Berkeley:University f CaliforniaPress,967) = Z; by Heidegger, einundZeit (Tubingen:Max Niemeyer,972) = SZ,with translationsromBeingand Time,trans.J. Macquarrie nd E. Robinson NewYork:Harper& Row, i962), which contains he Germanpaginationn the margins.Unlessotherwisenoted, quotesfromWittgenstein's orksrefer o sectionsrather hanpage numbers.


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  • 8/13/2019 Heidegger y Wittgenstein


    steinconcentrates n naturalassumptionshatarisewhendoingphiloso-phy and generally gnoresthe historyof philosophy.Yet despitethese importantdifferences, hereare also some strikingaffinities n their thought.Both writersfocus on our practical ives andcriticizeattemptsto justifythose practicesby appealto timeless truthsaboutthe natureof reasonorto factsabout he world.Bothchallenge ep-resentationalist ccountsof ourrelation o theworld Wittgensteinbycriticizingraditional heoriesof meaninganddesignation,Heideggerbyquestioninghe primacyaccorded"mere eeing" nthetradition.Bothare"contextualists"n the senseof holding hat,sincewe haveno clearaccessto formsand categoriesof purereasonor to intuitionsof essences,ourstartingpoint must be a descriptionof our everydaysituationsin theworld, or a phenomenologyy f everydayness."4The source of these similarities,I believe, is to be found in the"philosophies f life" that dominated o muchof German houghtat theturnof thecentury.5With thecollapseof Idealism,andwith thegrowingsenseof a "loss of meaning"accompanyinghe ascendancy f positivistscience,a naturalresponsewas to interprethe role of philosophyas try-ingto articulatewhatis contained nthecontingentandtemporal low oflife itself.So we findSchopenhauer'semand hatphilosophybeginwitha"hermeneutic" f concrete life-forms,Herder'sand Humboldt'streat-mentof languageas anexpressionof life, Lotze's"teleologicaldealism"which definesthe "real" n terms of what is valuable for life, Marx'semphasison the basic needsof life, Nietzsche'scall for life-affirmation,and the Neo-Kantians'definitionof truthin terms of its value for life("truth-values"). hevitalisms,energismsand biologismsof the turnofthe century, ogetherwith the immensely nfluentialLebensphilosophiemovement,which evolvedin the twentiesinto the "philosophyof exis-tence"andlater nto "existentialism,"lltestifyto the appealof this con-cern with rooting philosophy n life.6

    4 The expressions Heidegger's, ut see T. R. Schatzki's aluablediscussion f Wittgen-stein'smethodas a "phenomenologyf the everyday"n "ThePrescriptions Descrip-tion: Wittgenstein's iewof the HumanSciences,"n S. MitchellandM. Rosen,eds.,The Need for InterpretationAtlanticHighlands,New Jersey:Humanities,983).5 NicholasF. Gierhas madea convincing asefor Wittgenstein'sffinitieswith ife-philos-ophy in Wittgenstein nd Phenomenology Albany:SUNY UniversityPress,1981),Chapter3. I discussHeidegger's ebt to life-philosophyn Heidegger nd the Problemof Knowledge (Indianapolis: Hackett, I983), section 4.

    6 See Herbert Schnadelbach's Philosophy n Germany: 831-1933 (Cambridge: Cam-bridgeUni