Heidegger on Truth and Philosophy

Heidegger at his desk

Michael Inwood writes that for Martin Heidegger:

Truth is uncovering and uncoveredness, shedding light and light shed.  Someone who simply accepts and passes on the current chatter, even if the chatter happens to be in some sense correct, sheds no light of his own.  A great philosopher, by contrast, sheds light even if his views are mistaken.  Such errors as he makes are likely, Heidegger believes, to stem from his having taken over something of the tradition without adequate inspection.  But in any case the thought of great philosophers is never flatly false.  It is never solidified into something simply false or simply true; it is always, as Heidegger said of himself, ‘on the way’, in transit, never at its destination.  It always sheds light to guide us in the right direction, even if that leads away from the philosopher himself.  Chatter does not do that, Chatter is inert and self-enclosed.  It ‘tranquillizes’ us into thinking that matters are entirely settled and disinclines us to look further. (Inwood, 55)


Inwood, Michael.  Heidegger: A Very Short Introduction.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

1 Response to “Heidegger on Truth and Philosophy”

  1. 1 monarc7 September 14, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    You know, it’s amazing how things like this can pass us by. One might have a Heidegger collection and still miss it. It’s good you bring it to light.
    Thanks, very motivational.

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