Professor Hugh J. Silverman, Department of Philosophy, Stony Brook University

Spring Semester 2006 (Mon & Wed 5:20-6:40)

Protocol # 8

Heidegger, Theories of Truth, and Aletheia

February 20, 2006

Protocol by Joe Son and Arsalan Memon (revised by HJS)


            The discussion began with the "correspondence" and "coherence" theories of truth. The former is a reference theory of truth, while the latter is a logical theory of truth. In the "correspondence theory of truth", statements refer something in the world whereas in the "coherence theory of truth", all the parts logically and validly fit together in the statements without any reference to anything in the world. Heidegger’s theory of truth is a "disclosure theory of truth." The Greek for truth is aletheia, which means “unconcealedness” and the German word is, Unverborgenheit, which means “non-forgetfulness.” Closure has to do with concluding and finalizing, while disclosure has to do with not finalizing, but bringing out or revealing.

The Being of beings is where truth happens. The diagram that was drawn on the board by Professor Silverman is the following:

Dasein is a being who asks the ontico-ontological question of Being.  This is the hermeneutic circle or the circling in the circle.  This is a logical circle which allows you to think of the elements of circle.  In the open space designated by the circling of the circle, Truth as disclosure happens. The open or the opening is where the truth happens as an event (Eregnis). There are little events and monumental events (i.e. advent). Only because there is a difference, the open is there and the truth as disclosure happens in the open as the difference between Being and beings. Dasein is a kind of the active component of the bringing out the truth in the circling of the circle. The meaning of the Being of beings is the Truth as the happening in the Open.

In addition, Heidegger makes a distinction between the authentic and inauthentic being. Authentic (eigentlich) is the question of "being for real" in the colloquial language as opposed to being inauthentic (uneigentlich) or "fake". The German word, Eigentlichkeit, means authenticity, which Albert Hofstadter translated it as "own-li-ness." The word eigen is translated as “own.” This is why authenticity has authorship embedded in it. The question of ownness or that which is completely one's own, not a fake, or a copy. Even the word Er-eignis has built into it the word Eigen or “own.”  It is its own event.  Then as an event, the Being of beings is where not only Truth happens but also Authenticity take place. These are all the answers to the question of "What is the meaning of Being of beings" that Heidegger raised at the beginning of Being and Time. Now how does this all relate to time?

Derrida deconstructs Heidegger’s notion of temporality in "Ousia and Grammē: Note on a Note from Being and Time." Where is Dasein? Dasein is Being-in-the-world (in-der-Welt-sein). What is the world?  If things in the world are beings and they have a relation to Being, then they are in the world.  All beings are in the world and in effect the Being of beings is in the world.  Dasein is in the world.  So what about Time? Time (die Zeit) is related to temporality. Temporality means to be within or in time. For St. Augustine, temporality is opposed to eternity. That is, God is eternal and humans are temporal. This is important because Heidegger was also studying theology, but he gave up the priesthood to study philosophy. So in what way is the question of the meaning of Being of beings a question of temporality?  It could be temporal or eternal. Yet, the question of temporality does not denote the temporal or the eternal...