Logos [Heraklit, Fragment 50]

Logos (Heraclitus, Fragment B 50)

This careful reading of Heraclitus’ Fragment B 50 is a formal study of λόγος. Heidegger tries to explain how λόγος passed from the original meaning of gathering to mean language. We must understand λόγος in terms of λέγειν. Heidegger claims that the original meaning of λέγειν, which means to speak or to say, is to lay down or to lay before. Λόγος is the original saying of being that makes human language possible. In the gathering of λόγος, a permanence holds sway by reason of which what is gathered together is preserved and guarded as a whole. The genuine meaning of λέγειν is letting-lie-forth-as-a-collection. The lying forth is at the same time a coming into unconcealment and thus the appropriation of truth. The process of truth that comes to pass in λέγειν is the coming to presence of entities. Through λέγειν, being-there lets entities be.

Λόγος is the absolutely original source out of which the gathering process proceeds. Heraclitus’ formula ἕν-πάντα describes the way in which λόγος functions. Λόγος is the one (ἕν) that unifies all entities (πάντα) in themselves, insofar as it gathers them into themselves and lets them lie forth in unconcealment themselves. In the way it gathers all entities into being, λόγος is the destiny of being. It lays the ground for entities and, at the same time, comes to pass as ground in and through the entities that it grounds. In λόγος, being reveals itself as ground.

The place where the process of λόγος take place is the “there” of being and is, as such, the clearing where being-there exists. The original gathering process of λόγος as unconcealment makes possible the gathering process of human thinking as the process of truth. When our λέγειν corresponds with the λέγειν of the original λόγος, truth comes to pass. Truth is the letting be of λόγος and thinking is the thinking of λόγος.

Vorträge und Aufsätze (GA 7)