ON THE ESSENCE OF TRUTH


that to be sure he could understand only on the basis of his fundamental metaphysical position, founded on subjectivity, and which he had to understand as the keeping of its laws. This essential view of the determination of philosophy nevertheless goes far enough to renounce every subjugation of philosophical thinking, the most destitute kind of which lets philosophy still be of value as an "expression" of "culture" (Spengler) and as an ornament of productive humankind.

However, whether philosophy as "keeper of its laws" fulfills the essence originarily decided for it, or whether it is not itself first of all kept and appointed to its task as keeper by the truth of that to which its laws in each case pertain - this depends on the primordiality with which the original essence of truth becomes essential for thoughtful questioning.

The present undertaking takes the question of the essence of truth beyond the confines of the ordinary definition provided in the usual concept of essence and helps us to [96] consider whether the question of the essence of truth must not be, at the same time and even first of all, the question concerning the truth of essence. But in the concept of "essence" philosophy thinks Being. In tracing the inner possibility of the correctness of statements back to the ek-sistent freedom of letting-be as its "ground," and likewise in pointing to the essential beginning of this ground in concealing and in errancy, we want to show that the essence of truth is not the empty "generality" of an "abstract" universality but rather that which, self-concealing, is unique in the unremitting history of the disclosure of the "meaning" of what we call Being - what we for a long time have been accustomed to considering only as beings as a whole.



9. NOTE


The question of the essence of truth arises from the question of the truth of essence. In the former question essence is understood initially in the sense of whatness (quidditas) or material content (realitas), whereas truth is understood as a characteristic of knowledge. In the question of the truth of essence, essence is understood verbally; in this word, remaining still within metaphysical presentation, Beyng is thought as the difference that holds sway between Being and beings. Truth signifies sheltering that clears [lichtendes Bergen] as the fundamental trait of Being. The question of the essence of truth finds its answer in the proposition the essence of truth is the truth of essence. After our explanation it can easily be seen that the proposition does not merely reverse the word order so as to conjure the specter of paradox. The subject of the proposition - if this unfortunate grammatical category


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