PATHMARKS


This transfer is possible only by the fact that everything that has been heretofore manifest to human beings, as well as the way in which it has been manifest, gets transformed. Whatever has been unbidden to human beings at any given time, as well as the manner of its unhiddenness, has to be transformed. In Greek, unhiddenness is called ἀλήθεια, a word that we translate as "truth." And for a long time now in Western thinking, truth has meant the agreement of the representation in thought with the thing itself: adaequatio intellectus et rei.

But if we are not satisfied with simply translating the words παιδεία and ἀλήθεια "literally," if instead we attempt [125 {GA 9: 219}] to think through the issue according to the Greek way of knowing and to ponder the essential matter that is at stake in these translations, then straightaway "education" and "truth" come together into an essential unity. If we take seriously the essential content of what the word ἀλήθεια names, then we must ask: From what perspective does Plato approach his determination of the essence of unhiddenness? For the answer to this question we are referred to the proper content of the "allegory of the cave." The answer will show both the fact that and the way in which the "allegory" deals with the essence of truth.

The unbidden and its unhiddenness designate at each point what is present and manifest in the region where human beings happen to dwell. But the "allegory" recounts a story of passages from one dwelling place to another. Thus this story is divided in a general way into a series of four different dwelling places in specific gradations of up and down. The distinctions between the dwelling places and stages within the movement of passage are grounded in the different kinds of ἀληθές nonnative at each level, that is, the different kinds of "truth" that are dominant at each stage. For that reason, in one way or another we have to think out and designate what the ἀληθές, the unbidden, is at each stage.

In stage one, people live chained inside the cave, engrossed in what they immediately encounter. The description of this dwelling place ends with the emphatic sentence: παντάπασι δή ... οἱ τοιοῦτοι οὐκ ἂν ἄλλο τι νομίζοιεν τὸ ἀληθὲς ἢ τὰς τῶν σκευαστῶν σκιάς (515 c1-2). "In no way, then, would those who are chained like this ever consider anything else to be the unbidden except the shadows cast by the artifacts."

Stage two tells about the removal of the chains. Although still confined to the cave, those imprisoned are now free in a certain sense. Now they can tum around in every direction. It becomes possible to see the very things that were previously carried along behind them. Those who before looked only at shadows now come μᾶλλόν [126 {GA 9: 220}] τι ἐγγυτέρω τοῦ ὄντος (515 d2), "a little nearer to what is." The things themselves offer their


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Martin Heidegger (GA 9) Plato's Doctrine of Truth