All of the great philosophers are diffi cult to read, but Heidegger and Wittgenstein seem to be so in striking ways. The oracular quality of the Tractatus is often remarked upon, and the later Heidegger’s work can seem to represent a descent into “windy mysticism” of the sort that Ryle foresaw for Heidegger’s work ( 2009, 222). Wittgenstein’s later work is equallyif differently-puzzling; it isn’t technically complex but one fi nds oneself asking: what is Wittgenstein getting at? What is he trying to do? If he is making particular philosophical claims, why can’t he spit them out? Similarly, Edwards claims that the early Heidegger “never says anything simply and clearly if he can say it oddly, obscurely and ponderously”: “and I have no doubt that the desire to sound esoteric and original is part of the reason” (1979, 37, 35). Edwards’s reaction to what he calls Heidegger’s “hideous gibberish” (1989, 468) is extreme, but there is a widespread sense that Heidegger’s writing is somehow willfully contrary or-as Edwards would have it-“ perverse ” (1979, 37). 1
A related worry is that Heidegger and Wittgenstein seem to have an oddly casual view of the need to present us with philosophical proofs: the Tractatus , for example, appears to be largely a body of assertions and, as Okrent observes, “[o]ne of the most striking things about the way in which the early Heidegger presents his views . . . is his seeming lack of concern for argument” (Okrent 1988, 110). Just as Heidegger and Wittgenstein can appear unable to spit out clear articulations of the views that they are taken to be offering, commentators often feel they must “reconstruct-in some measure, construct-the argument[s] implicit in what [they] say” (Okrent 1988, 110).