The Question of the Possibility of ψευδὴς δόξα [256–257]

This does not mean that everything depends on one’s standpoint. There is always a standpoint; but the question is whether a standpoint is genuine. It is not that I simply determine [the state of affairs], but the question is whether [I have adopted] a really appropriate standpoint. It must be decided whether the perspective in which I am questioning corresponds to the object itself.

Plato has defined the task—not methodically, but with immediate inspiration—through the preliminary investigation: we must be able to attain a point of view that makes it possible for there to be such a thing as being both familiar and unfamiliar with an object. A cognition in which an object that has been grasped is exchanged with another.

b) The new starting point for posing the question by way of the deepened question concerning the constitution of the soul

The posing of the question is directed into quite different dimensions. Where does something like a false view belong? A false view is, in any case, a condition of ourselves, a definite comportment. The human self is designated in Greek with ψυχή, soul. πάθος ψυχῆς is a condition of our soul, a definite comportment of human Dasein.

Accordingly, false views cannot adequately be clarified until man has first been clarified in this regard. So in illuminating falsehood, we run up against the question of what the human soul is.

Plato offers two similes for it; in these similes, just as in the procedure of the allegory of the cave, the question is led back to the question of humanity. Here too, the question of untruth emerges as a question about the soul, about the constitution of the soul, about the essence of human Dasein.

We want to pose three questions:

1. In what sort of contexts does Plato pose the problem of false


2. To what extent can the essence of δόξα be grasped in the light

of these sorts of comportment?

3. What does this imply for the essence of ψεῦδος, of untruth?

Plato deals with the question of what the domain of origin for false views is by presenting two similes, in which the soul is presented first as

1. κήρινον ἐκμαγεῖον, a wax block, and then

2. as a περιστερεών, an aviary, taken as an ἀγγεῖον, box, container.

One should not insist on these images in every respect; they have been devised only for a very particular purpose. The images are supposed to help us understand a comportment of the soul. Historians have demonstrated that Plato took these images from somewhere

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

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