The Authenticity of the Ordinary

In David Egan Stephen Reynolds & Aaron James Wendland (eds.), Wittgenstein and Heidegger. Routledge. pp. 66-81 (2013)
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The appeal to ordinary language is a central feature of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy: he reminds us that our words find meaning in the ordinary practices and forms of life in which they are used. This emphasis on the ordinary may seem to clash with Heidegger’s claim that average everyday understanding is marked by inauthenticity: is Wittgenstein’s emphasis on ordinary language fundamentally inauthentic? On the contrary, I argue, Wittgenstein’s emphasis on the ungroundedness of our ordinary practices parallels Heidegger’s discussion of anxiety and uncanniness, suggesting that we can unearth something like a Heideggerian appeal to authenticity in Wittgenstein’s appeal to ordinary language.
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