70
ON TIME AND BEING

which questions what is present only with regard to its presence.

In any case, one thing becomes clear: To raise the question .of ἀλήθεια, of unconcealment as such, is not the same as raising the question of truth. For this reason, it was inadequate and misleading to call ἀλήθεια in the sense of opening, truth.5 The talk about the "truth of Being'' has a justified meaning in Hegel's Science of Logic, because here truth means the certainty of absolute knowledge. But Hegel also, as little as Husserl, as little as all metaphysics, does not ask about Being as Being, that is, does not raise the question how there can be presence as such. There is presence only when opening is dominant. Opening is named with ἀλήθεια, unconcealment, but not thought as such.

The natural concept of truth does not mean unconcealment, not in the philosophy of the Greeks either. It is often and justifiably pointed out that the word ἀληθές is already used by Homer only in the verba dicendi, in statement and thus in the sense of correctness and reliability, not in the sense of unconcealment. But this reference means only that neither the poets nor everyday language usage, not even philosophy see themselves confronted with the task of asking how truth, that is, the correctness of statements, is granted only in the element of the opening of presence.

In the scope of this question, we must acknowledge the fact that ἀλήθεια, unconcealment in the sense of the opening of presence, was originally only experienced as ὀρθότης, as the correctness of representations and statements. But then the assertion about the essential transformation of truth, that is, from unconcealment to correctness, is also untenable.6


5. How the attempt to think a matter can at times stray from that which a decisive insight has already shown, is demonstrated by a passage from Being and Time (1927) (p. 262, New York: Harper & Row, 1962). To translate this word (ἀλήθεια) as "truth," and, above all, to define this expression conceptually in theoretical ways, is to cover up the meaning of what the Greeks made "self.·evidently" basic for the terminological use of ἀλήθεια as a prephilosophical way of understanding it.

6. This statement has profound implications for Heidegger's book Platons Lehre von der Wahrheit. (Tr.)