262 I. 6
Being and Time

(b) The Primordial Phenomenon of Truth and the Derivative Character of the Traditional Conception of Truth.

"Being-true" ("truth") means Being-uncovering*. But is not this a highly arbitrary way to define "truth"? By such drastic ways of defining this concept we may succeed in eliminating the idea of agreement from the conception of truth. Must we not pay for this dubious gain by plunging the 'good' old tradition into nullity? But while our definition is seemingly arbitrary, it contains only the necessary Interpretation of what was primordially surmised in the oldest tradition of ancient philosophy and even understood in a pre-phenomenological manner. If a λόγος as ἀπόφανσις is to be true, its Being-true is ἀλήθεύειν in the manner of ἀποφαίνεσθαι—of taking entities out of their hiddenness and letting them be seen in their unhiddenness (their uncoveredness). The ἀλήθεια which Aristotle equates with πρᾶγμα and φαινόμενα in the passages cited above, signifies the 'things themselves'; it signifies what shows itself—entities in the "how" of their uncoveredness. And is it accidental that in one of the fragments of Heracleitusxxxv[Fragment 1]—the oldest fragments of philosophical doctrine in which the λόγος is explicitly handled-the phenomenon of truth in the sense of uncoveredness (unhiddenness), as we have set it forth, shows through? Those who are lacking in understanding are contrasted with the λόγος, and also with him who speaks that λόγος, and understands it. The λόγος is φράζόν ὁκός ἔχει: it tells how entities comport themselves. But to those who are lacking in understanding, what they do remains hidden—λανθάνει. They forget it (ἐπιλανθάνονται); that is, for them it sinks back into hiddenness. Thus to the λόγος belongs unhiddenness—ἀ-λήθεια. To translate this word as 'truth', and, above all, to define this expression conceptually in theoretical ways, is to cover up the meaning of what the Greeks made 'self-evidently' basic for the terminological use of ἀλήθεια as a pre-philosophical way of understanding it.

[220] In citing such evidence we must avoid uninhibited word-mysticism. Nevertheless, the ultimate business of philosophy is to preserve the force of the most elemental worrls in which Dasein expresses itself, and to keep the common understanding from levelling them off to that unintelligibility which functions in turn as a source of pseudo-problems.

We have now given a phenomenal demonstration of what we set forth earlier xxxvi as to λόγος and ἀλήθεια in, so to speak, a dogmatic Interpretation. In proposing our 'definition' of "truth" we have not shaken off the tradition, but we have appropriated it primordially; and we shall have done so all the more if we succeed in demonstrating that the idea of agreement is one to which theory had to come on the basis of the primordial phenomenon of truth, and if we can show how this came about.