GA 34

Vom Wesen der Wahrheit. Zu Platons Höhlengleichnis und Theätet (WS 1931/32)

The Essence of Truth

The first part of these lectures looks for clues to the essence of truth (aletheia) in Plato’s allegory of the cave in the Republic, Book VII. Heidegger examines the allegory’s four stages (the situation in the cave, liberation within the cave, liberation outside the cave, and the liberated prisoner’s return to the cave) and the idea of the good in relation to unhiddenness, on the way to concluding that the allegory reveals a neglect of the hiddenness in the experience of aletheia, “forfeiting the power of its fundamental meaning.” In the second part of the lectures, Heidegger turns to Plato’s accounts of knowledge as perception and true opinion in the Theaetetus, with the aim of establishing that for Plato the pseudos—i.e. an untruth distinct from hiddenness (lethe)—is the incorrectness of logos, understood as a proposition. As a result, Heidegger charges, Plato interprets truth as a correct proposition, effectively suppressing its primordial essence as unhiddenness and the fact that hiddenness is essential to “the inner possibility of truth.”