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Logic as the Question Concerning the Essence of Language

beginning of our discussion the statement: The determination of the essence of history is grounded in the respective character of history of the era from which this determination is carried out.

There is no downright binding circumscription of the essence of history in itself. It makes no sense to apply the medieval conception of history to our era; just as senseless is it to characterize that conception of history as false.—However, then there is really no absolute truth! Of course not. It is time that we cure ourselves of the consternation over this and finally take seriously that we are for the time being still human beings and no gods.

From the fact that there is no absolute truth for us, however, we may not infer that there is in general no truth for us. By truth, we understand the manifestness of beings, which manifestness fits and binds us into the being of beings—in each case, according to the kind of being of the beings that enter here into manifestness. What for us is true in this sense of truth is quite enough for a human life.

There is no need for any hackneyed truth, which is true for everyone and, therefore, binding for no one. A truth does not become less of a truth by the fact that not everyone can appropriate it. However, even if everyone can agree to a truth, this truth does not need to be true; and conversely, one individual can stand in the truth, in which others do not stand, because they are not ripe for that. This truth does not thereby by chance become false.

But now, what about the following thought: If there is for us, as it is, no absolute truth, then at least the statement "There is no absolute truth" must be absolutely true. With this, there is, nevertheless, absolute truth, and the statement "There is no absolute truth" is broken through.

This inference is a small formal piece of art. However, from the statement "There is no absolute truth," it docs not follow that the statement itself is absolutely true; it is true only for us. It is important to put into effect the realization that we stand, admittedly, always in the truth of certain regions and stages; that, however, precisely even with this manifestness of beings a concealedness of things is set and happens; yes, and what is more, a disguise and suppression, and that this untruth docs not stand harmlessly as in a shed, next to truth, but that this untruth constantly rules our standing in the truth.


Martin Heidegger (GA 38) Logic as the Question Concerning the Essence of Language