Martin Heidegger’s The Essence of Truth (2002) contains two connected lecture series on two of Plato’s Socratic dialogues (Politeia and Theaetetus), which Heidegger uses to address the theme of truth. In particular the Greek idea of truth as aletheia, which means “unhiddenness,” in contrast to our understanding of truth as correctness, given by the Latin term veritas.
The Essence of Truth is part of Heidegger’s project to bring into the open what he believes we have long forgotten, that is being, that which is present in addition to what is physically there. Being is experienced as aletheia, i.e. as what is unhidden. He proposes that this return to being as aletheia be re-enacted by examining the essence of truth, i.e. by asking “what is truth?” In order to do this aletheia itself must be put into question by exploring what beings are prior to unconcealment, i.e. as hidden, as untruth. This is what Heidegger sets out to do in part two of The Essence of Truth: “an interpretation of Plato’s Theaetetus with respect to the question of the essence of untruth.” Towards the end of which a simile is introduced, through which the soul is likened to an aviary and being to the birds contained within.
In the following blog posts I have tracked Heidegger’s engagement with Plato’s text through a series of detailed notes which endeavour to capture what is being said.
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