Plato's Sophist [127-128]

This ἀπορεῖν, if it is expressly carried out, indicates that one does not know the matter which he cannot get through. ὁ δ᾽ ἀπορῶν ἀγνοεῖν (cf. 982b17f.). "The one who does not get through and finds no way out," and establishes that the matter at issue is occluded to him, "is convinced that he is not yet genuinely familiar with the matter," that he still does not know it. Yet insofar as one becomes transparent to oneself precisely in this conviction of being unable to get through, so that one continues the διαπορεῖν and makes the attempt to get through, there then resides in such ἀπορεῖν and διαπορεῖν a desire to get through, a φεύγειν τὴν ἄγνοιαν and a διώκειν τὸ ἐπίστασθαι διὰ τὸ εἰδέναι: ὥστ᾽ εἴπερ διὰ τὸ φεύγειν τὴν ἄγνοιαν ἐφιλοσόφησαν, φανερὸν ὅτι διὰ τὸ εἰδέναι τὸ ἐπίστασθαι ἐδίωκον καὶ οὐ χρήσεώς τινος ἕνεκεν. (b19ff.). The one who continues the ἀπορεῖν and διαπορεῖν and attempts to get through reveals in such endeavors that he is flying in the face of ἄγνοια, ignorance, coveredness, and is pursuing ἐπίστασθαι, knowledge, having beings present in their uncoveredness. Thus what the Greeks call ἀπορία characterizes the peculiar intermediate position of Dasein itself over and against the world. It characterizes a peculiar being underway of Dasein: in a certain sense knowing beings and yet not getting through. The ἀπορεῖν in itself, however, does not have any sort of autonomous and positive meaning but only has the functional sense of the correct pursuit of the knowledge of beings themselves. Δια-πορεῖν, the interrogating that presses forward, means to find something no longer obvious (where the "obvious" is what is intelligible on the basis of some perfectly accidental understanding) and to endeavor to extract an understanding from the matter itself instead. The positive steps in διαπορεῖν are nothing else than the presentifying of the determinate matter at issue. The way and the direction of the ἀπορεῖν depart from the familiar surroundings and proceed toward the world and specifically in such a way that the ἀπορεῖν does not concern what is encountered accidentally and happens to be striking but rather includes the sense that Dasein sets itself on the path where what is striking is what was always already there. Where such ἀπορεῖν occurs, there takes place this setting oneself on the way, this being underway toward. Thus the ἀπορεῖν, or the διαπορεῖν, becomes a phenomenon in the natural consideration of the world as well as in explicitly scientific research, which shows to what extent Dasein in itself aims at an uncovering of beings simply for the sake of uncovering. Thereby we procure the ultimate determination of σοφία and see at the same time that θεωρεῖν is a completely autonomous comportment of Dasein, not related to anything else whatsoever.