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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 tradition of two fundamental conceptions of the essence of truth, both of which emerged among the Greeks: truth as unconcealment or truth as correctness. The originary conception as unconcealment gave way. Here we cannot decide without further ado whether it was the inner superiority of the latter conception (correctness) that gave it the upper hand over the originary concept, or whether it was a mere inner failure that led to the predominance of the conception of truth as correctness. We must begin at the point where the two conceptions are still engaged in struggle. Plato’s philosophy is nothing but the struggle between these two con‑ ceptions of truth. The outcome of this struggle determined the spiritual history of the millennia to come. This struggle is found in Plato in every dialogue, but in its highest form it is found in the allegory of the cave. The fact that we put the allegory of the cave into this context, that we see the struggle between the conceptions of truth in the story that the allegory tells, indicates a quite definite conception. The interpretation of the myth of the cave leads into the heart of Platonic philosophy.1 The story of the cave in Plato’s Republic is found in book VII, 514a–517b. We cite the text of the Platonic dialogue by the edition of Henricus Stepha‑ 1. {Recapitulation at the beginning of the session of 5 December 1933, repro‑ duced from the lecture transcript of Wilhelm Hallwachs. Cf. note 4, below.} 101 nus, 3 vols. (Paris, 1578), whose page numbers, and usually also the five subsections a–e, are printed in the margin of modern editions.2 We divide the text into four sections—and this means that we divide the whole story into four stages. I. Stage 514a–515c. The situation of the human being in the subterranean cave. II. Stage 515c–e. The liberation of the human being within the cave. III. Stage 515e–516c. The authentic human liberation into the light. IV. Stage 516c–517b. The look back and the attempt to return to the Dasein of the cave. We proceed in such a way that we will elucidate each stage on its own, while attending from the start to the fact that the individual stages on their own are not what is essential, but rather what lies between them: the transitions from one to the next. This means that what is decisive is the whole course of the happening; our own Dasein should participate in completing this course, and should thus undergo movement itself. When, for instance, the first stage has been elucidated, we may not set it aside as something over and done with; we must take it along with us into the transition and the subsequent transitions. At first I will always supply the translation of the text of the whole section, and then the interpretation will follow. It would be more conve‑ nient to refer you to the text or to one of the usual translations. But this is ruled out by the very fact that every translation is an interpretation. The μῦθος is presented in such a way that Socrates tells the story of the cave to Glaucon, with whom he is conversing.3,4 2. {The basis for the text here is Heidegger’s personal copy of Platonis Opera, ed. Ioannes Burnet (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1899 sqq.), vol. 4.} 3. Cf. for what follows Winter Semester 1931–1932. 4. {Martin Heidegger’s handwritten text for the lecture course of Winter Se‑ mester 1933–1934 ends here. For the main part of the course—i.e., the interpreta‑ tion of the allegory of the cave and the Theaetetus—no new text was prepared. Ac‑ cording to Heidegger’s note above, the lectures that follow were delivered on the basis of the handwritten text of the lecture of the same name from Winter Semester 1931–1932. (See Martin Heidegger, Vom Wesen der Wahrheit (GA 34), ed. Hermann Mörchen. Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1988.) [English translation: The Essence of Truth: On Plato’s Cave Allegory and...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780253004659
Related ISBN
9780253355119
MARC Record
OCLC
678869653
Pages
256
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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