understanding the whole interpretation is a matter of grasping again and again this one thing in its fundamental meaning: that the question of the essence of truth is the question of the history of man's essence, and vice versa.

We do not understand philosophy as

1. a cultural phenomenon, a realm of man's creativity and of the works which issue from it;

2. a kind of unfolding of individual personalities as spiritual creators;

3. a region of learning and teaching within a system of scientific values, a science;

4. a world view, completion, rounding off and model of thought; also not as

5. philosophy of existence;

but as a questioning which in a fundamental way changes Dasein, man, and the understanding of being.

And what has become of all this? Much that is great and that has been effective in later history, but also just as much that is miserable and now becoming widespread. But nothing has happened that would amount to a primordial re-origination, nothing that would once again set us in motion within this occurrence. And we today! 'Plato's doctrine of ideas' has its essence ripped out and made accessible for the superficiality of today's Dasein: ideas as values and παιδεία as culture and education, i.e. what is most pernicious from the nineteenth century, but nothing from 'antiquity'!


1 See above pp. 34-5.

2 Plato places ἰδέα over ἀλήθεια, because envisability [Sichtsamkeit] becomes essential for ἰδεῖν (ψυχή) and not deconcealment as the essencing of beyng [als Wesung des Seyns].

3 τὸ πέρας = boundary, end, goal.

4 See Supplement 7.

5 παρέχειν: to give - to bind.

6 Paul Shorey (Loeb) translates: 'compare our nature in respect of education and its lack'; Desmond Lee (Penguin) translates: 'picture the enlightenment or ignorance of our human condition'; Francis Cornford (Oxford U. P.) translates: 'the degrees in which our nature may be enlightened or unenlightened'. [Trans.]



Martin Heidegger (GA 34) The Essence of Truth