§14. Return to the Aristotelian doctrine [43-44] 41

science and philology only provide auxiliary services.

So much for a first, though not yet decisive, clarification of the distinction between a historiographical consideration and a historical reflection.


§14. Return to the Aristotelian doctrine of the truth of the assertion as a historical reflection.


If now, in the context of an original posing of the basic question of truth, we refer back to Aristotle in order to reflect on the foundation of the traditional concept of truth following the guideline of his theory of the truth of the assertion, then this has nothing to do with a historiographical consideration of a past doctrine of an allegedly antiquated Greek philosophy. This is so not only because the problematic Aristotelian conception of truth is not bygone, and still today thoroughly determines our knowledge and decisions, but also because we are questioning the inauguration and preservation of the ordinary Western concept of truth at its very outset and are doing so only in terms of our awakening the question of truth for the future as a—or perhaps the—basic question of philosophy. This questioning—should it succeed—will itself stand within a history whose beginning reaches back temporally behind Aristotle and whose future reaches far beyond us. Therefore, the philosophical thought of the Greeks that we are reflecting on is not something bygone, nor is it something of today, made to fit the times. It is futural and therefore super-historiographical; it is the historical.

The essence of truth is not a mere concept, carried about in the head. On the contrary, truth is alive; in the momentary form of its essence it is the power that determines everything true and untrue; it is what is sought after, what is fought for, what is suffered for. The essence of truth is a happening, more real and more efficacious than all historiographical occurrences and facts, because it is their ground. What is historical in all history comes to pass in that great silence for which man only rarely has the right ear. That we know so little or even nothing of this hidden