218 • LATE PAPERS ON HEIDEGGER



it back, takes responsibility—existential responsibility—for the difference between ontological truth and falsehood while undertaking to stay on the side of the former.

Ontical truth and the responsibility for it presuppose a disclosing of the being of entities because the need for responsible double-checking arises only in the face of apparent impossibilities and only so are ontical comportments feasibly and nonarbitrarily beholden to entities. But there can be no comparable account for ontological truth and the responsibility for it because there is no “metadisclosedness” for them to presuppose. The possibilities for entities are not themselves projected onto “metapossibilities” in terms of which there could be apparent “metaimpossibilities.” How, then, and to what is ontological truth beholden?

Ontological truth is beholden to entities—the very same entities that ontical truth is beholden to and via the very same means of discovery. The difference lies in the character of the potential failure and the required response. A failure of ontical truth is a misdiscovery of an entity, such as a factual mistake. With more or less work, it can be identified and corrected, and life goes on. A failure of ontological truth is a systematic breakdown that undermines everything—which just means a breakdown that cannot be “fixed up with a bit of work.” So the only responsible response (eventually) is to take it all back, which means that life, that life, does not “go on.” But this response, too, is a response to discovered entities and only to them—a refusal to accept what we might paradoxically call “real” impossibilities among them. Intransigent impossibilities can show up only among entities as ostensibly discovered. To be sure, they may turn out in the end not to have been discovered entities after all, but that eventuality presupposes ostensible discoveries of entities.

This is an important result, for it means that ontological truth, though historical, is not arbitrary. Therefore, Heidegger’s (and Kuhn’s) “historicism” about being does not imply relativism. Discovery of entities does indeed presuppose—hence is “relative” to—dasein’s disclosure of their being (or a “paradigm”), which is historical. But whether a way of life with its ontical comportments works or not is not ultimately up to dasein either individually or historically. So that disclosure itself, in turn, is beholden for its “success” to those very entities as discovered—entities that are in de pendent of it in the concrete and inescapable sense that they are out of control. And that beholden disclosure is binding on dasein in that its very life depends on it. Resolute dasein takes over that beholden bindingness—binds


John Haugeland - Dasein Disclosed