may draw the conclusion - gathered together (from the highest idea itself) — that obviously for all people this [idea of the good] is the original source [Ur-sache] both of all that is right (in their comportment) and of all that is beautiful" — that is, of that which manifests itself to comportment in such a way as to bring the shining of its visible form to appearance. The highest idea is the origin, i.e., the original source [Ur-sache] of all "things" ["Sachen"] and their thingness [Sachheit]. "The good " grants the appearing of the visible form in which whatever is present has its stability in that which it is. Through this granting, the being is held within being and thus is "saved."

As regards all forms of prudential insight that inform practical activity, it follows from the essence of the highest idea on ὅτι δεῖ ταύτην ἰδεῖν τὸν μέλλοντα ἐμφρόνως πράξειν ἢ ἰδίᾳ ἢ δημοσίᾳ (517 c4/5). "that anyone who is concerned to act with prudential insight, either in personal matters or in public affairs, must have this in view (namely, the idea that, insofar as it is the enabling of the essence of idea, is called the good)." Whoever wants to act and has to act in a world determined by "the ideas" needs, before all else, a view of the ideas. And thus the very essence of παιδεία consists in making the human being free and strong for the clarity and constancy of insight into essence. Now since, according to Plato's own interpretation, the "allegory of the cave" is supposed to provide a concrete image of the essence of παιδεία, it also must recount the ascent to the vision of the highest idea.

But is it not the case that the "allegory of the cave" deals specifically with ἀλήθεια? Absolutely not. And yet the fact remains that this "allegory" contains Plato's "doctrine" of truth, for the "allegory" is grounded in the unspoken event whereby ἰδέα gains dominance over ἀλήθεια. The "allegory" puts into images [136 {GA 9: 230}] what Plato says about ἰδέα τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ, namely, that αὐτὴ κυρία ἀλήθειαν καὶ νοῦν παρασχομένη (517 c4), "she herself is mistress in that she bestows unhiddenness (on what shows itself) and at the same time imparts apprehension (of what is unhidden)." Ἀλήθεια comes under the yoke of the ἰδέα. When Plato says of the ἰδέα that she is the mistress that allows unhiddenness, he points to something unsaid, namely, that henceforth the essence of truth does not, as the essence of unbiddenness, unfold from its proper and essential fullness but rather shifts to the essence of the ἰδέα. The essence of truth gives up its fundamental trait of unhiddenness.

If our comportment with beings is always and everywhere a matter of the ἰδεῖν of the ἰδέα, the seeing of the "visible form," then all our efforts must be concentrated above all on making such seeing possible. And that requires the correct vision. Already within the cave, when those who have been liberated tum away from the shadows and tum toward the things,

a First edition, 1947: The ἀγαθόν certainly is an ἰδέα, but no longer present, and therefore hardly visible.


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