Ontological Discussion1 The Being of Non-beings2 (Sophist 236e-264b)



§59. Exposition of the ontological problematic.

a) Summary of the result of the seventh definition of the sophist. The contradictoriness of ψεῦδος λόγος.

The consideration begins at 236e with a certain quite formal summary of the result obtained thus far. The factual existence of images-or the factual existence of the sophist-presents us with something we can characterize as follows: τὸ . . . φαίνεσθαι τοῦτο καὶ τὸ δοκεῖν, εἶναι δὲ μή (elf.), or, in relation to the sophist, who moves in λέγειν: τὸ λέγειν μὲν ἄττα, ἀληθῆ δὲ μή (e2). That is, we possess the state of affairs of φαίνεσθαι, "self-showing as something," or of δοκεῖν, "appearing as something," εἶναι δὲ μή, "without actually being that something. " Similarly, we have encountered the λέγειν μὲν ἄττα, "addressing something," or, more precisely, letting something be seen by addressing it, ἀληθῆ δὲ μή, "yet not letting it be seen in its uncoveredness." "This whole state of affairs," τὸ φαίνεσθαι τοῦτο καὶ τὸ δοκεῖν, εἶναι δὲ μή, καὶ τὸ λέγειν μὲν ἄττα, ἀληθῆ δὲ μή, says the ξένος, "is full of difficulties," πάντα ταῦτά ἐστι μεστὰ ἀπορίας (e2f.), not only now but ever, ἀεὶ ἐν τῷ πρόσθεν χρόνῳ καὶ νῦν (e3), now and before. ὅπως γὰρ εἰπόντα χρὴ ψευδῆ λέγειν ἢ δοξάζειν ὄντως εἶναι, καὶ τοῦτο φθεγξάμενον ἐναντιολογίᾳ μὴ συνέχεσθαι, παντάπασιν χαλεπόν (d. e3ff.). "And it is altogether difficult to see how someone who says there really is a ψευδῆ λέγειν or ψευδῆ δοξάζειν does not necessarily contradict himself," ἐναντιολογίᾳ συνέχεσθαι. That is, whoever contends there is a ψευδὴς λόγος is forced to speak against himself. For he is in effect saying that there is a λόγος, a OT]AOUV, a revealing, and that this λέγειν is ψευδῆ, it distorts.

1. Title in Heidegger's manuscript.

2. Title based on Heidegger (see p. 161 f., the articulation of the Sophist).