they direct their gaze to that which, in comparison with the mere shadows, "is more in being": πρὸς μᾶλλον ὄντα τετραμμένος ὀρθότερον βλέποι (515 d3/4), "and thus turned to what is more in being, they should certainly see more correctly." The movement of passage from one place to the other consists in the process whereby the gaze becomes more correct. Everything depends on the ὀρθότης, the correctness of the gaze. Through this correctness, seeing or knowing becomes something correct so that in the end it looks directly at the highest idea and fixes itself in this "direct alignment." In so directing itself, apprehending conforms itself to what is to be seen: the "visible form" of the being. What results from this conforming of apprehension, as an ἰδεῖν, to the ἰδέα is a ὁμοίωσις, an agreement of the act of knowing with the thing itself. Thus, the priority of ἰδέα and ἰδεῖν over ἀλήθεια results in a transformation in the essence of truth. Truth becomes ὀρθότης, the correctness of apprehending and asserting.

With this transformation of the essence of truth there takes place at the same time a change of the locus of truth. As unhiddenness, truth is still a fundamental trait of beings themselves. But as the correctness [137 {GA 9: 231}] of the "gaze," it becomes a characteristic of human comportment toward beings.

Nevertheless in a certain way Plato has to hold on to "truth" as still a characteristic of beings, because a being, as something present, has being precisely by appearing, and being brings unhiddenness with it. But at the same time, the inquiry into what is unhidden shifts in the direction of the appearing of the visible form, and consequently toward the act of seeing that is ordered to this visible form, and toward what is correct and toward the correctness of seeing. For this reason there is a necessary ambiguity in Plato's doctrine. This is precisely what attests to the heretofore unsaid but now sayable change in the essence of truth. The ambiguity is quite clearly manifested in the fact that whereas ἀλήθεια is what is named and discussed, it is ὀρθότης that is meant and that is posited as normative — and all this in a single train of thought.

The ambiguity in the determination of the essence of truth can be seen in a single sentence taken from the section that contains Plato's own interpretation of the "allegory of the cave" (517 b7 to c5). The guiding thought is that the highest idea yokes together the act of knowing and what it knows. But this relation is understood in two ways. First of all, and therefore normatively, Plato says: ἡ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ἰδέα [the idea of the good] is πάντων ὀρθῶν τε καὶ καλῶν αἰτία, "the original source (i.e., the enabling of the essence) of everything correct as well as of everything beautiful." But then it is said that the idea of the good is κυρία ἀλήθειαν καὶ νοῦν παρασχομένη, "the mistress who bestows unhiddenness as well as apprehension." These