fast to this determination of the essence of truth, and he takes it to be so agreed upon that an elucidation of it appears superfluous to him. It now appears, at least according to the translation cited above, that Heraclitus already knew of this essence of the truth, the knowledge of which apparently belongs to the common domain of human cognition. It is almost superfluous, then, for Heraclitus to make reference to the condition upon which this agreement with things is to be achieved—namely, that one hearken to things and thereby pick up on their quality and character.

This elucidation of the saying, derived from the guiding thought of the translation cited above, allows everything to appear in the most beautiful harmony and smoothness. However, one difficulty remains for those who attempt to thinkaft er it. It consists [361] of the fact that the explanation for the essence of the truth given by the translation cannot be the view held by Heraclitus, owing to the fact that the reduction of the essence of the true assumed by the saying—namely, that the true is an accordance between saying, doing, and things—only comes about around the time of the formation of metaphysics in Plato and Aristotle. In short, the interpretation at work in the above-cited conventional translation of saying 112 is absolutely historically impossible, if for no other reason than that it debases the dignity of inceptual thinking in favor of a platitude. We must therefore take another way, one that has been prepared by our prior reflections.

The word in Heraclitus’s saying that one commonly translates as “the true”— namely, ἀληθέα—literally and essentially means “the unconcealed.” ἀλήθεια— unconcealment—is a foundational word of inceptual Greek thinking. However, no matter how familiar the translation of ἀλήθεια as “truth” may be to us, and no matter how common the determination of the essence of truth as an accordance between the assertion and the thing is, we must remain mindful of the fact that the saying is being said in the time of pre-metaphysical thinking, that is, at a time during which words, and most especially foundational words, unfolded their originary power of naming. If we now examine the entire saying again in a more careful way, we will find not only other, but indeed all of the essential foundational words of inceptual thinking conjoined by way of this saying—and no one who has come to notice this will ever cease to be amazed by it. This points to the fact that this saying, which according to its conventional translation and interpretation seems to express only something ‘trivial,’ in fact says something entirely other, something inceptual which, like all that is inceptual, remains to us enigmatic and inexhaustible, thinking beyond us at every turn. One finds in the saying, in addition to ἀληθέα, the words φύσις, λέγειν (λόγος), ποιεῖν (ποίησις), σοφίη, φρονεῖν, ἀρετή, and ἐπαΐω (ἀΐω). Each of these words names, in an essential way, the originary essence of [362] inceptual Greek thinking and that which it thinks. The saying itself speaks specifically only of φρονεῖν and σοφίη, of “thinking” and of “knowing”: namely, it speaks of what they are. We will now translate φρονεῖν provisionally, and without elucidation, as “thinking,” and σοφίη—based on prior

270    Logic: Heraclitus’s Doctrine of the Logos