Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics [448-50]

ἀφείσθωσαν· ῥητορικῆς γὰρ ἢ ποιητικῆς οἰκειοτέρα ἡ σκέψις· ὁ δὲ ἀποφαντικός τῆς νῦν θεωρίας:5 The examination of these kinds of discourse which do not have the character of a pointing out—of ascertaining and letting be seen what and how something is—the examination of these λόγοι belongs to rhetoric and poetics. The propositional λόγος, however, is the object of our current investigation.

Every λόγος is σημαντικός—which is why Aristotle also says that the λόγος is φωνή σημαντική, a forming of understandability occurring by way of vocal utterance—but not every λόγος σημαντικός is ἀποφαντικός. The question is: Which λόγος is apophantic, and how does it become such? What is the distinguishing feature of propositional discourse compared to all other kinds of discourse? Aristotle says: Only that λόγος is ἀποφαντικός, ἐν ᾧ τὸ ἀληθεύειν ἢ ψεύδεσθαι ὑπάρχει,6 in which we find truth and falsity. This is the usual translation—the natural one, and if we deviate from this we are accused of arbitrariness. And yet we must deviate from it, because the translation that appears to be literal does not at all render what the Greeks understood by this definition, and only this can lead us to the problem of the λόγος. Aristotle says ἐν ᾧ ... ὑπάρχει, a discourse is propositional through ἀληθεύειν ἢ ψεύδεσθαι not merely being found in it, but lying in it as underlying it, as contributing toward its ground and its essence. Aristotle employs the medial form ψεύδεσθαι: constituting a deception, being inherently deceptive. That λόγος to whose essence there belongs (among other things) the ability to be deceptive is a pointing out. To deceive means: to pretend something, to present something as something it is not, or to present something that is not such and such as indeed being such and such. This deception, this being deceptive that belongs to the essence of the λόγος—this proffering of something as something it is not—this pretending, with respect to whatever the deception is about, is a concealing. That λόγος which has the possibility of being able to conceal is an exhibiting. We have to say: which has the possibility, because Aristotle emphasizes: ἀληθεύειν ἢ ψεύδεσθαι, either one or the other, but one of the two, the inherent possibility of one or the other, either concealing—or not concealing, but precisely taking from concealment, thus not concealing but revealing—ἀ-ληθεύειν.

That λόγος, therefore, to whose essence it pertains either to reveal or to conceal, is a pointing out, i.e., apophantic. This possibility characterizes what is meant by apophantic: pointing out. For the λόγος that conceals is also a pointing out. If this were not the case, in accordance with its inner essence, then it could never become a λόγος, that deceives. For precisely whenever I want to pretend something to someone else, I must first already be in a position

5. Ibid., 17a 5ff.

6. Ibid., 17a 2f.

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Martin Heidegger (GA 29/30) The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics