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Tr a nsl ators’ For ewor d Translators owe a double debt. To their sources, they owe fidelity. To their readers, they owe an explanation. Translators are intermediaries, and their work succeeds only if it can be trusted not to misdirect what they have been entrusted to convey. That responsibility is particularly pressing with a text such as Martin Heidegger’s Being and Truth. While Heidegger’s language in Being and Truth is not as idiosyncratic as in his works of just a few years later (in particular, in the 1936–1938 Contributions to Philosophy), this text is challenging because of the diversity of its sources. Heidegger originally delivered the texts in this volume as a pair of lecture courses in 1933–1934, and as Hartmut Tietjen explains in his afterword, we have a variety of sources for what Heidegger actually presented: his own partial manuscript, his notes, and student transcripts. What this means is that the resulting text displays a wide range of styles: carefully prepared lectures that read like a book manuscript ; transcriptions of what appears to be Heidegger’s more relaxed and sometimes loose delivery during the lectures themselves; and aphoristic , even cryptic passages that often only sketch out a train of thought. The reader should be prepared for sudden alterations in style. In discharging our debt to the author, we have attempted to be as faithful as possible to the German by following a few simple principles. As far as we can, we have endeavored to provide consistent renderings into English of Heidegger’s terminology so that the reader may follow his usages as closely as possible. Because there is not always a one-toone mapping of words and idioms from one language to another, truly literal translation is impossible, so the reader who wishes to pursue some of the complexities and connotations of Heidegger’s vocabulary should consult the German–English glossary at the back of the volume. Heidegger’s style is often very precise and carefully constructed; we have tried to reproduce this quality, even when a looser rendering in English might seem more elegant. But where Heidegger’s style is more informal, we have tried to capture the mood of the text with corresponding English idioms, so long as we could maintain fidelity to his xv xvi Translators’ Foreword meaning. In a number of cases where the text takes the form of grammatically or conceptually incomplete notes, we have formed complete sentences and attempted to spell out the sense. Whenever we have had to make decisions about missing words, our additions are enclosed in square brackets, as are all our notes and our translations of Greek and Latin terms. Readers should consult the editor’s afterword for an explanation of other typographical devices. Some of Heidegger’s terminology is so specific to his thought, or to the intellectual and historical context of these lecture courses, that we owe the reader a more detailed explanation than we can offer in the glossary. Sein and Seiendes. Heidegger insisted that his lifelong theme was the question of Being. We render Sein as capitalized “Being” in order to distinguish it from our rendering of Seiendes (and its permutations) as an individual “being” or “beings” in general. Seiendes literally means “that which is” or “what is”; we have used these phrases when they are not overly awkward. Some translations render Seiendes as “entities ,” but the rather scholastic flavor of this word would diminish the freshness of many of Heidegger’s formulations in these lectures. As for “Being,” many translators resist this usage out of a concern that the capitalization will mislead some readers into believing that Being is a metaphysical principle, a sort of transcendent super-being that constitutes or underlies the reality of all other beings. But rendering both Sein and Seiendes as “being” can lead to serious confusions. In German, Sein is the infinitive “to be” turned into a noun. For Heidegger, Sein retains its verbal sense: Being is not a being, not a thing. As a first cut, the reader might find it useful to understand Heidegger’s question of Being as a question about the field of meaning within which individual beings become accessible to us, a field that unfolds in time and as time. As one can see in the following passage on Baumgarten, context would not always be sufficient to save the reader from bewilderment if Sein were rendered as “being” with the lowercase: “Is there anything that stands even above Being...


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