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§ 9. Being, Truth, Presence

i.e. to the book which brings the leading question of Greek metaphysics to its highest development? Must not the chapter necessarily belong there? The chapter is not at all unconnected to the rest of the book, and certainly Aristotle did not, despite its alleged unconnectedness, just add it on.

But how could the real theme of the chapter be so crudely and stubbornly overlooked? The commentators and those who cite them have, to be sure, also read the chapter and interpreted it. Certainly, but there is reading and reading. The question is whether we read in the right way, i.e. whether we are adequately prepared for seeing what is in front of us, whether we measure up to the problematic or not, whether we understand the problems of being and truth and their interconnection in a sufficiently primordial manner, whether we are thus able to move within the horizon of the philosophy of Aristotle and Plato. Or whether we rush at the philosophical tradition with worn-out philosophical concepts and their pseudo-problems, expecting that with such miserable qualifications we can decide which additions the text requires, and what Aristotle must have thought. This is what happens in the case of Schwegler. The problem of truth is known to belong to logic. Being is in any case self-evident and does not need to be placed in question. So if Aristotle includes, in the main book of his Metaphysics, a chapter which treats of truth from the very first sentence, this cannot properly belong here. Irrespective of its crudity or refinement, overall or in detail, nothing changes the fundamental untenability of such a procedure.

What therefore is the basic deficiency i.n the common interpretation of this chapter? It stems from the fact that the Greek understanding of the essence of truth is just as little interrogated as is the Greek understanding of being. This also applies to all subsequent philosophy. Indeed subsequent philosophy, for reasons we do not need to enter into now, has not even been able to take up and make fruitful what the Greek treatment of the problem of truth achieved. If this is the situation, then we certainly have no right to assume that in one chapter from one book, a chapter that asserts and discusses a connection between being and truth. everything will be carried through with perfect transparency. On the contrary, wherever the deepest problematic is attained, there remains, despite all acuity of questioning, the greatest obscurity.

What then do the Greeks understand, pre-philosophically and philosophically, by truth?33 Ἀλήθεια, unhiddeness [Unverborgenheit]; not


33 Heidegger, Being and Time, translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1962, § 44.