Being and Truth (Studies in Continental Thought)
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In these lectures, delivered in 1933-1934 while he was Rector of the University of Freiburg and an active supporter of the National Socialist regime, Martin Heidegger addresses the history of metaphysics and the notion of truth from Heraclitus to Hegel. First published in German in 2001, these two lecture courses offer a sustained encounter with Heidegger's thinking during a period when he attempted to give expression to his highest ambitions for a philosophy engaged with politics and the world. While the lectures are strongly nationalistic and celebrate the revolutionary spirit of the time, they also attack theories of racial supremacy in an attempt to stake out a distinctively Heideggerian understanding of what it means to be a people. This careful translation offers valuable insight into Heidegger's views on language, truth, animality, and life, as well as his political thought and activity.
beings essences. But what does it really consist in? This is not a question raised by an individual, although it may in each case be an individual who raises this question in language, in a sentence. The question itself resonates in our Dasein—and it has done so for generations, since our Dasein received its fundamental orientation through the inception of Greek philosophy. Since then, the question and the attempts at answering it have persisted. Since then, everyone who asks this question must
structures. Accordingly, the emphasis is on exhibiting what is at all times the most constant and the most simple and enduring fundamental structure, in the sense of the Greek conception of Being. As such a fundamental structure of discourse, after long and difficult consideration, there finally emerges in Aristotle the notion of the simple sentence that has the character of discourse: “The stone is hard,” and the like. Discourse is therefore that in which something 82 Introduction [103–104]
cave that is to be interpreted. Pa r t O n e Truth and Freedom: An Interpretation of the Allegory of the Cave in Plato’s Republic Chapter One The Four Stages of the Happening of Truth §10. Interpretive procedure and the structure of the allegory of the cave Our answer to the question of the essence of truth had to pass through a decision. We cannot, as it were, think up the essence of truth in an indifferent rumination. Instead, what is at issue is the confrontation in history with the
necessary either, that this doctrine has been grasped only from this point of view. For us, the issue is whether we can arrive at an essential under‑ standing of the essence of truth through the doctrine of ideas. If we talk of the doctrine of ideas, then we are displacing the fundamental question into the framework of ideas. If one interprets ideas as repre‑ sentations and thoughts that contain a value, a norm, a law, a rule, such that ideas then become conceived of as norms, then the one sub‑
meaning did develop in the direction of cultivation and education. In our context, this means that what is at stake in this story is precisely the essence and Being of man—in regards to how he is in his ground. This grounding, fundamental happening in which the essence of truth develops through human history—and in this history, man acquires this inner steadfastness—this fundamental happening is philosophy. But one will not comprehend even this fundamental thought of Plato, that the fundamental