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The Essence of Truth: On Plato's Parable of the Cave and the Theaetetus (Continuum Impacts) Paperback – 15 Oct 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Continnuum-3PL; New edition edition (15 Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826477046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826477040
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 641,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Finally a short note on the book. Ted Sadler s writing is an example to the general reader of how to read philosophical texts slowly, as one reads poems, of the encounter with the art of going slowly [following] Heidegger s conviction that philosophy, genuinely undertaken and carried through, subverts the impatient hunger for results so characteristic of the modern age [x-xi]. Within the world of scholarship this is a classic that will certainly stimulate any future discussion, but on Heidegger s terms. Francesco Tampoia, Philosophy in Review/ Comptes Rendus Philosophiques, January 2004-June 2004

About the Author

Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) was Profesor of Philosophy at the Universities of Marburg and Freiburg, and is regarded as one of the twentieth century's most original and important philosophers - as well as one of its most controversial. His work has exerted a major and enduring influence on, not only philosophy, but also theology, political thought and aesthetics.

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By Ray Willmott on 23 April 2013
Format: Paperback
This book derives from a series of lectures Martin Heidegger delivered in the thirties about the concept of truth as envisaged in two of Plato's key works: The Republic (specifically, the myth of the cave) and Theaetetus.

Both editor and translator have done a fine job in making the text clear and easy to follow. That said, this is a challenging read - 240 pages of closely worked commentary and argument. It's of particular interest to anyone wanting a broader understanding of Heidegger's thought or a deeper understanding of Greek philosophy. But maybe not an ideal introduction to Heidegger, as much knowledge of philosophy is assumed.

All the same, it's a profound and subtly argued work. Heidegger shows that the Greek concept of truth, "alitheia", applied originally to beings and objects not to things said, and meant "unconcealment". Truth and falsity were not polar opposites, but engaged in a dialectical interplay as the truth of something is revealed through its many guises.

For a reader coming from Anglo-saxon philosophy, the book will provide quite a culture shock, as Heidegger ends by saying that philosophy took a wrong turning when Plato began applying the concept of truth, and of falsity, to statements rather than to objects.
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By Bubo on 15 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of my favourite lecture courses by Heidegger. His fastidious penetration of Plato's two dialogues is pure delight for spiritual natures like myself. A knowledge of Ancient Greek is a necessity to appreciate the book's scope and spirit as Heidegger dissects the Ancient Greek with razor sharp precision.

I can't stress enough how beautiful this lecture is.

Five stars.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
The Essence of Truth' 17 Oct. 2002
By Jessica Bloom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
One of Heidegger's most important works, The Essence of Truth, bears witness to a shift in emphais, in which truth and by extension, being, no longer happens through the agency of Dasein, but in the 'open' in which Dasein is uncovered. By a slow and careful reading of Plato's allegory of the cave, Heidegger shows how truth ceased to be 'unhiddenness' and became mere 'correctness', beginning the degeneration of thought about being into metaphysics.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Heidegger's Confrontation with Plato 29 Jun. 2009
By Tony See - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent introduction to Heidegger's thoughts on Plato. Although much has been written about the way Heidegger sought to overcome the Western Metaphysical tradition, relatively little has been written about the way he sought to bring about a deeper, or in some cases, reinterpretation of Plato's Republic. Here, Heidegger goes into the very heart of Plato's Republic to discover an account of truth that is not grounded in some metaphysical subject that is opposed to some object, but one that is grounded in "unconcealment" itself. This work, when read together with Heidegger's The Origins of the Work of Art offers one a penetrating insight into the very grounds of Heidegger's disagreement with the received philosophical tradition.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
reading about denial 11 April 2012
By Bruce P. Barten - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have been unfair to fraudulent Americans because I only share insights from philosophy when such thoughts add to my antagonism, like when I went to a Vet Center and someone asked:

What are you so uptight about?

It is impossible to tell Americans anything, so I read a little bit of Heidegger to explain why:

But has not untruth always counted
as the negative, not only in the sense
of what is denied, but of what should
be denied, of the invalid and unworthy,
of what should be avoided in the
interest of truth, of what must be
overcome and opposed? Certainly! (p. 95).

For social systems which imagine consensus providing the importance they feel when they line up with whatever makes a particular social system important, causing trouble is an untruth, like the way I keep quoting Heidegger:

But from where is the intrusiveness
and stubbornness of un-truth supposed
to come, if untruth is merely something
negative, if it does not possess its
own positive power? (p. 95).

Opposing denials belong to the essence of both sides:

but which also makes it so difficult
to grasp the essence of both and the
essence of their connection, so that
already in the asking and at the outset
we must go astray. Briefly put: un-
hiddenness and hiddenness are bound
up with what is null and invalid, not
on the basis of a formal differentiation
of the two, but in themselves. (p. 96).
1 of 12 people found the following review helpful
No insight into the nature of truth. 12 Aug. 2012
By Ben Masters - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
p11- "Human beings write and talk all the more, the less they have anything essential to say."

I have come to that conclusion after many years of reading philosophy, and it pretty much applies to this work.

The writer's primary concern is try to find out why the Greek word for Truth, Aletheia, changed its meaning over time from "unhiddenness" to "correctness" or "correspondence." I don't think he makes a strong case that "unhiddenness" is what the Greeks meant by Aletheia, and he does not consider the idea that "revelation" is closer to the original meaning. He does not delve into the difficulties involved in trying to define "Truth" and uses the term without questioning whether it needs a definition. He assumes at some level that correspondence, a fatally flawed theory, is a valid meaning for truth.

Much of what is written here is incomprehensible (probably some of it due to the impossibility of translating such cryptic sentences) and open to varied interpretations. Heidegger's habit of creating new meanings for old words every few phrases is a distraction. Almost every statement is a prime example of obfuscation and can be spinned to mean anything you want it to mean.

This is the final paragraph of the book:

p229- "We attempted to answer the questions concerning the essence of truth by looking at a piece from the history of the concept of truth, and at a piece from the concept of untruth. But perhaps we have learnt to understand that it is precisely here, and only here, in such history, that we experience the presencing of truth. We cannot bring anything to the appearance of its essence through sheer cleverness and empty pedantry. For this reason we can reach what truth is, and how it presences, only by interrogating it in respect of its own occurrence; above all by asking after what remained un-happened in this history and which was closed off, so much closed off that ever since it has seemed as if in its primordiality it never was."

Crystal clear conclusion!

Heidegger did not have a definition of Truth, and it is clear that he was unable to show us the Essence of Truth.
0 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The Insubstantiality of Being (a cave-in) 5 Nov. 2008
By Alaric - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being as clarification (unhiddenness) v. correctness (propositional validity). 3. Beholding the Ideal contained in flux.

As far as throwing light upon "Being", Heidegger's 'clearing' consists only in the aperture of the cornea that is

formed around the iris: it does not go deeper into 'it'. Heidegger's idea of leaving the cave consists in facing

the light and seeing what is 'nakedly'. This might be adequate if what occurs in the eye is not mere sense, but

also the faculty of judgement; the case is that sense impressions are subject to judgement (interpretation, if

you like) prior to their becoming SUBJECT to our awareness. That is, 'direct consciousness' of objects is

mediated by the understanding, and it is a misnomer to speak of consciousness as being 'direct' in any SENSE

whatsoever. As for the Will, Being is only directly conceived through [carpe diem] it in the process of

becoming [panta rei] precisely WHEN one surrenders the status of compos mentis as a 'true' entity for that

which makes for a greater awareness through intuition (i.e. knowing, and not a greater 'proximity' to Being

which in any case would be only another state achieved and not a 'field of vision' gained). This expresses the

paradoxical nature of truth, of Dasein as Werdens; as neither Being nor Nothing. The concept of truth as

unhiddenness of Dasein remains problematic given its visual nature, which is in no way adequate a model of

the understanding, or even Will to remain tenable: unhiddenness is not disclosure, and if the error was

one of judgement in the first place it is not a question of sight which unveils, but insight that discloses the

'nature' of things-in-themselves (Beings, if you will) as they are, from which we can reason back and

distill what we receive first as sense datum, to the pure Idea which is beholden to us (it as necessary and dear

to us, as we to it).
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