This chapter departs from the preceding in considering the work of three authors who rejected the Enlightenment’s foundationalist principles. Anti-foundationalists oppose foundationalism’s universalism and the need to ground philosophy. The emphasis moves to continency.
Nietzsche criticised both reason and the dialectic of enlightenment, asserting that reason must be grounded in the historical. His Romanticism, subjectivism, and Will to Power derive from a philosophy of nature. Objective truth is an impossibility, leaving history as open to interpretation. Reason derives from, and depends upon, a natural language that obstructs reason. The world is fabricated through a language that is contingent, one that distorts the world.
Wittgenstein’s humanism facilitates an understanding of the self, culture and society. He claimed that the logic of language was misunderstood. He did not provide a theory of language, nor was language presented as a form of reality. His notion of language games rested on how subjects share an understanding of the use of rules in such games or forms of life.
Heidegger’s notion of dasein, or our being in the world, rested on how language brings the world into being. The world is a web of meanings, a totality of significance that structures ‘being’ as an understanding. The totality of significances out of which our world is made are inter-subjectively related, rather than being constituted by the subject. It is an idealism premised on hermeneutic reasoning. Sharing a language involves sharing a world. His focus was on how meaning brings the world into being.