The Fourth Stage [178–179]

as a living thing is to be determined. Reason should not be a superstructure added to the human body; instead, embodiment must be transposed into the existence of man.

This is why even an infant is not some sort of animal, but is immediately human. None of the utterances of a young human being may be grasped on the basis of animal biology; race and lineage, too, are to be understood on this [higher] basis, and are not to be represented by an antiquated biology based on liberalism.

The essence of truth opens itself to us not in just any cognition, in just any property, but as the fundamental happening in the human essence. With this, the question has been posed; but by no means has an answer been reached. We must say that all statements such as “man exists,” “truth is the fundamental happening of existence,” “the ideas have the character of truth”—these are all philosophical statements.

Philosophical truth is of a different sort from everyday truth. Scientific truths can and must be proved in a twofold sense. It must be possible to support what scientific propositions say with facts, or to derive them using formal logic.

In both regards, philosophical statements cannot be proved. But this is no flaw, for what is essential in all things in general is unprovable, and the advantage is precisely that every access to philosophy entails a fundamental disposition and a fundamental decision on the part of human beings. There can be no philosophy that is standpoint-free, with whose aid we find the truth. That is an error and a fraud.

We initially took the essence of truth as unconcealment; now we see that it is a happening, in the sense that a thing is taken out of concealment through unconcealing. This happening is the fundamental happening of man. It is subject to quite definite conditions and forms of its occurrence.

D. The fourth stage (516e3–517a6)

§23. The return of the liberated man into the cave

With this answer, we seem to have reached the goal of our question concerning how Plato defined ἀλήθεια. (Ascent and liberation would bind one to the idea.) But obviously Plato’s allegory still has a fourth stage. The ascent into liberation, which began inside the cave and led out up into the light, goes no further now in the fourth stage. Instead, the story goes back. The fourth stage presents the descent of the liberated prisoner back into the cave.

Let us resume narrating the full story.

Socrates: And now consider this: if the one who had become free in this manner were to descend back down {into the cave} again and

Being and Truth (GA 36/37) by Martin Heidegger

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