Transcendence is specifically expressed in Plato's ἐπέκεινα τῆς οὐσίας.63 a Yet may we interpret the ἀγαθόν as the transcendence of Dasein? Even a fleeting glance at the context in which Plato discusses the question of the ἀγαθόν must dispel such doubts. The problem of the ἀγαθόν is merely the culmination of the central and concrete question concerning the chief and fundamental possibility of the existence of Dasein in the polis. Even though the task of an ontological projection of Dasein upon its fundamental metaphysical constitution is not explicitly posed or even developed, the threefold characterization of the ἀγαθόν undertaken with constant reference to the "sun" impels us toward the question of the possibility of truth, understanding, and being - i.e., taking these phenomena together, toward the question concerning the originary and unitary ground of possibility of the truth of our understanding of being. Such understanding, however - as an unveiling projecting of being - is the primordial activity of human existence, in which all existing in the midst of beings must be rooted. For the ἀγαθόν is that ἕξις (sovereign power) that is sovereign with respect to the possibility (in the sense of the enabling)64 of truth, understanding, and even being, and indeed of all three together in their unity.

It is not by accident that the ἀγαθόν is indeterminate with respect to its content, so that aU definitions and interpretations in this respect must fail. Rationalistic explanations fall short, as does the "irrationalist" recourse that takes flight in the "mystery." The illumination of the ἀγαθόν, in keeping with the pointer that Plato himself provides, must stick to the task of interpreting the essence of the connection between truth, understanding, and being. Inquiry back into the intrinsic possibility of this connection sees itself "compelled" to accomplish explicitly [57] the surpassing that occurs necessarily in every Dasein as such, yet mostly in a concealed manner. The essence of the ἀγαθόν lies in its sovereignty over itself as οὗ ἕνεκα - as the "for the sake of . . . , " it is the source of possibility as such. And because the possible indeed lies higher than the actual, ἡ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ἕξις, the essential source of possibility, is even μειζόνως τιμητέον.65

Certainly the relation of the "for the sake of" to Dasein becomes problematic precisely here. Yet this problem does not come to light. Rather, according to the doctrine that has become traditional, the ideas remain in a ὑπερουράνιος τόπος; the task is merely to secure them as the most objective of objects, as that which is in beings, without the "for the sake of" showing itself as the primary character of world so that the originary content

a Second edition, 1931: No! Da-sein not at all comprehended, and not experienced. ἐπέκεινα not transcendence either, but ἀγαθόν as αἰτία.


Martin Heidegger (GA 9) Pathmarks