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Leading Question of Philosophy

the problem only in its main features. A full interpretation would take us too far afield and would presuppose a thorough familiarity with the Aristotelian metaphysics.

Three things should be borne in mind in relation to this problem. First, that which properly exists is the ὄν ἐνέργεια. ἐνέργεια is proper being in the sense of self-holding in constant presence. Secondly, truth is the deconcealment of beings, and only on the basis of and in relation to this deconcealment can truth apply, in a derivative sense, to that which determines and conceives beings: ἀληθεύειν, the φάναι or καταφάναι τὸ ἀληθὲς. Thirdly, it is precisely because the essence of truth is the deconcealment of beings that the various kinds of truth are determined by the various kinds of beings, i.e. in accordance with the being of these beings. If one grasps and holds fast to the essence of the Greek concept of truth, this correspondence between modes of deconcealment and kinds of beings is clear and obvious. By the same token, if this correspondence comes to clear expression with the Greeks, this reflects their fundamental conception of truth as the truth of beings (deconcealment). So Aristotle says, clearly and simply at the end of Metaphysics α 1: ἑκαστον ὡς ἔχει τοῦ εἶναι, οὕτω και τῆς ἀληθείας,36 as each thing is in respect of being, so it is in respect of truth (deconcealment). The mode of being of beings determines the mode of their possible deconcealment. The latter goes together with being. Proper being-true thus belongs to proper beings.

It is our claim that, in Θ 10, Aristotle poses the problem of how the being of beings makes it possible for beings to be true, i.e. deconcealed. What is the proper being-true of beings? It should now be clear that the problem became unavoidable for Aristotle and the Greeks only after the leading question τί τὸ ὄν was awakened. This is obvious. We ran also see why Aristotle unfolds this problem in the particular direction he does. For if his thesis is that the ἀληθὲς ὄν is the κυριώτατον ὄν, the most proper being, then he must set out from the question of the being of proper beings. The problem does not concern any arbitrary kind of truth of any arbitrary being, but the truth of proper beings, i.e. proper truth. The connection between being and truth must come into view from consideration of the proper truth of proper beings, i.e. it must be shown how truth as such constitutes the proper being of beings.

We have thus already sketched out the course of discussion in Θ 10. The thematic treatment of the problem begins at 1051 b 9 and continues until 1052 a 4. The earlier sections introduce the problem. We have


36 Metaphysics α 1, 993 b 30 f.