Under the Aspect of Time
(“sub specie temporis”)
Heidegger, Wittgenstein and the Place of the Nothing
But some of the greatest achievements in philosophy could only be compared with taking up some books which seemed to belong together, and putting them on different shelves; nothing more being final about their positions than that they no longer lie side by side. The onlooker who doesn’t know the difficulty of the task might well think in such a case that nothing at all had been achieved. (Blue Book, p. 44-45)
It is often said that there has been relatively little work devoted to the relationship between Heidegger and Wittgenstein. It has also been argued that this is due, to a great extent, to the barriers of the ‘Analytic-Continental’ divide. Yet, over the last two decades interest in the relationship (or non-relationship) between the two philosophers has intensified and has been articulated in what can be provisionally laid out as four distinct streams of interpretation: Analytic, Pragmatic (both Analytic and Continental), Mystical and Phenomenological. What is surprising (or, perhaps, not surprising) about the discussion of the relationship, however, is the relative lack of awareness of each of the streams to the others, as they trickle blindly, impervious to the others. Indeed, it is not that there has not been any work on this relationship, but that the work has remained segregated by a network of blindnesses, barriers or dams. This network has served to impede any synoptic or perspicuous interpretation of the relationship.
The purpose of this essay will be to invite these streams to break their banks and coalesce into a larger river of interpretation – and by showing one way this could be done.
To read the rest of this essay, please visit Under the Aspect of Time