Groundless Grounds

Groundless Grounds

A Study of Wittgenstein and Heidegger

By Lee Braver

An in-depth comparison of Wittgenstein and Heidegger shows how the views of both philosophers emerge from a fundamental attempt to dispense with the transcendent.





An in-depth comparison of Wittgenstein and Heidegger shows how the views of both philosophers emerge from a fundamental attempt to dispense with the transcendent.

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.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262016896 370 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


$25.00 X ISBN: 9780262526043 370 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • A well-researched study for those interested in the intersections between analytic and continental philosophy, and it continues Braver's quest for a new way of doing philosophy as a kind of hybrid enterprise composed of those two strands.

    Review of Metaphysics

  • Few have attempted to read [Heidegger and Wittgenstein] so as to bring them into productive dialogue. Lee Braver's publication is the latest of these relatively rare efforts.

    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

  • With his recent work on Wittgenstein and Heidegger, Lee Braver has accomplished something remarkable: he has given us an account of two of the past century's most challenging thinkers that is as insightful and provocative as it is eminently readable...a joy to read...This is an exciting a fertile work, an invaluable reference for anyone interested in the emerging dialogue between the continental and analytic traditions.

    Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology

  • The book is a pleasure to read, due both to its clarity and its humor. Braver has mastered a vast primary and secondary literature; the book is truly a scholarly tour de force. It is also rare to find a philosopher who is fluent in both philosophical traditions. This is a terrific book, and it is recommended for anyone interested in Wittgenstein or Heidegger, the analytic-continental schism, and twentieth-century attempts to overcome the traditional philosophical project.

    Philosophy in Review

  • Lee Braver's Groundless Grounds is an ambitious and groundbreaking volume for making comparisons of two intellectual giants seldom juxtaposed...Braver's project, which in my estimation succeeds well, is to bridge what each thinking was doing, finding parallels in Wittgenstein and Heidegger where former scholars saw distinct, possibly incommensurable, ideas and approaches.

    Journal of Applied Hermeneutics


  • 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