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Groundless GroundsA Study of Wittgenstein and Heidegger$
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Lee Braver

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780262016896

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016896.001.0001

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The Essence of Ground

The Essence of Ground

(p.173) 5 The Essence of Ground
Groundless Grounds

Lee Braver

The MIT Press

This chapter focuses on a problem that has been persistent throughout the history of philosophy itself—the problem of a base-superstructure organization requiring an ultimate level which itself has no justifying foundation underneath it. Wittgenstein and Heidegger have challenged a number of the assumptions and aspirations that have guided philosophy since its inception, including foundationalism, which is the attempt to trace all knowledge back to a source or set of claims that, as necessarily true, secure the truth of all which is derived from them. Just as a valid argument produces only true conclusions from true premises, so a properly built system insulates the circulation of truth throughout its entirety. It is argued here that one can only accept the grounding afforded by human nature and cultural norms as both all which is possible and all that is needed if one is free from the expectation of a transcendent ground which cannot be wrong.

Keywords:   base-superstructure organization, ultimate level, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, foundationalism, knowledge, truth, human nature, cultural norms, transcendent ground

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