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Chapter 3

us as “an abyss”40 or as a χώρα.41 That is, the clearing (1) is always already present-and-operative wherever ex-sistence ex-sists, but (2) metaphorically speaking, it is “hidden” (or “absent”) insofar as the reason why it occurs is unknowable. The mystery of the clearing-qua-abyss is what Heidegger calls “facticity” in the proper sense of the term: the fact that we cannot question back behind this thrown-openness (which is ourselves) to find its “cause,” without presupposing this very thrown-openness as what first makes such questioning possible. This primal, always operative openedness is usually overlooked precisely because, as the ultimate presupposition of everything human, it is necessarily unknowable (“hidden,” “absent”) in its why and wherefore. And yet it is “more real and more efficacious than all historical events and facts,” because it is their ground.42 Only within this openedness can there be “understanding, that is, the projecting [of something as something], bringing it into the open”43—the understanding of the thing’s current being qua meaningful presence.

Next, ἀλήϑεια-2: This meaningful openness of things in our pre-propositional involvement with them

signifies the un-coveredness [Entdecktheit] of some thing, and all such un-coveredness is grounded ontologically in the primordial case of the alethic, the openedness [Erschlossenheit] of ex-sistence.44

Here Heidegger makes a terminological distinction—which he soon stopped observing—between


1. Erschlossenheit (dis-closedness): the primal openedness of ex-sistence itself [= ἀλήϑεια-1]; and, founded on that:

2. Entdecktheit (un-coveredness/dis-coveredness): the resultant intelligible availability of things [= ἀλήϑεια-2].


Insofar as ex-sistence, as dis-closed, makes possible and is in correlation with the un-coveredness of things, Heidegger calls the being of ex-sistence Entdeckendsein, “the uncovering of things,” usually translated awkwardly as ex-sistence’s “being-uncovering” (Macquarrie-Robinson) or “being-revealing” (Stambaugh). What Heidegger means is simply that ontologically (-sein)



40. GA 45: 193.27 = 167.22. See GA 9: 174.13 = 134.17: “der Ab-grund des Daseins.” See GA 26: 234.5–9 = 182.11–15 on ex-sistence’s transcendence as opening up the abyss.
41. GA 83: 157.5 and .12 on χώρα as “Von wo her etwas [i.e., a thing in its being] anwest” (italicized in the original).
42. GA 45: 44.22–24 = 41.31–33: “ein Geschehen, das wirklicher und wirksamer ist als alle historischen Begebenheiten und Tatsachen.”
43. GA 16: 424.21–22 = 5.15–16: “Verstehen, d.h. Entwerfen (ins Offene bringen).”
44. SZ 256.7–9 = 300.8–10.


Thomas Sheehan - Making Sense of Heidegger