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SeriouslyShow Me: Heidegger & Aristotle on Demonstrative Knowledge

Abstract
There has been much debate concerning the relationship between
Aristotle's epistemology and Phenomenology as such. In the Posterior
Analytics Aristotle began the debate that modern philosophers are currently
having over what it means for a belief to be justified. His classical
formulation of basic beliefs as an end to the so-called regress problem is
classical example of how Foundationalists approach knowledge and scientific
inquiry, namely, by beginning with that which can be seen and building
demonstrative propositions from that which is non-demonstrable and nonderivative. In Being and Time, Martin Heidegger develops an entirely new
paradigm of knowledge by first interrogating the being that knows, Dasein.
He develops his classical notions of 'Being-in-the-world,' 'Worldhood,' and
facticity on the idea that to know something means that a being must
already understand what it means to know, and as such already have
developed a World of Being that Dasein can know. In the following article I
will show that Heidegger's formulation of the existential analytic of Dasein is
not antagonistic to Aristotle's central epistemological project, but rather is
further development of it. By analyzing Worldhood, Heidegger is formulating
the conditions of the possibility of having basic beliefs, which means that
Worldhood is prior and more primordial than basic beliefs. The following will

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be an expostulation of both of these respective projects, again, with the
intention of arguing that Aristotle's epistemology can accommodate
Heidegger's concept of Worldhood and vice versa.
In everything inessential and without purpose the beginning is what can be
and is overcome. Not only overcome: it can no longer be attained. In the
essential, the beginning is the unattainable and the greatest, and it is
precisely because we can no longer grasp anything of this, that with us
everything is so decayed, laughable, without order, and full of ignorance.
Today people regard it as a mark of superiority to philosophize without this
beginning. Philosophy has its own law; what people think about it is
something else.
- Martin Heidegger, The Essence of Truth
All instruction given or received by way of argument proceeds from preexistent knowledge. Aristotle, Posterior Analytics

1. Introduction
Aristotle famously begins the Posterior Analytics with this claim, and in
so doing establishes the grounds for the debate over demonstrative
knowledge that he proceeds to analyze and dissect throughout the
remainder of the text. The instruction to which he is referring is not
relegated to the common syllogistic reasoning of the kind if A is B, and B is C,
then A is C of the professional philosopher. He intends to include
mathematical reasoning, speculative discourse, and induction as well,

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although much of the writing in the Posterior Analytics does refer to
syllogistic reasoning specifically. A syllogism is a form of reasoning in which
a conclusion is drawn from two or more premises. It may be valid reasoning
if both premises share a term with the conclusion. An example of a valid
syllogism is as follows: All men are animals, x is a man, therefore, x is an
animal. The preceding reasoning is valid because the conclusion shares a
term with each premise and it is sound because each of the premises are
true. Valid reasoning that is not sound is reasoning in which the conclusion
shares a term with each of the premises but one or more of the premises are
false. An example of valid reasoning is the following: All cats are purple, x is
a cat, therefore, x is purple. Contingently, the first premise is false, which
means that the conclusion, although it shares a term with each of the
preceding premises is valid, but is not sound.
The pre-existent knowledge that Aristotle claims is required for
knowledge is of two kinds: assumption and comprehension of the meaning of
the term used, or definition. In some cases both are essential. Recognition
of a truth or having the ability to formulate a positive proposition also
implies previous knowledge and also knowledge acquired simultaneously.
(71a.16) For example, a student knew beforehand that a man is an animal,
but it was not until the moment he was led to formulate the positive
proposition all men are animals that he recognized that this as true, but it is
true on the basis of prior input. It is recognized, or internally accessible,
upon the moment of recall of this input, and as such can be said to be

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known, but not recognized, until the student formulates the positive
proposition that-p, or that man is an animal.1 This knowledge can be either
universal or particular in the sense that the positive proposition that-p will
make a claim about a particular input or all particular inputs of a given kind.2
Making claims about all input of a given kind implies that one knows without
qualification, or without the possibility of supplementing a positive
proposition about a given category with a further proposition that negates
this proposition. It is in this sense that one knows universally, or has the
ability to predicate one of many. Conversely, Aristotle explicitly recognizes
the possibility of knowing what he is learning in one sense and not knowing it
in another, so that through demonstration one is in fact learning. (71b.6)
In a similar vein, Heideggers account of knowing is grounded in the ancient
concept of Aletheia. Aletheia is best translated as unhiddenness; it means
knowing as a kind of revealing, which has as its basis a knowing thing called
Dasein. Knowing requires that the world first be revealed to Dasein, and only
then can Dasein make truthful claims about entities within the world and
about Worldhood as such. A component feature of Worldhood is facticity.
That Dasein is thrown into a facticity is a necessary ontological condition for
1 Speaking of geometrical claims, Aristotle writes: If he did not in an
unqualified sense of the term know the existence of this triangle, how could
he know without qualification that its angles were equal to two right angles?
(71a.26)
2 For Aristotle, making universal claims is reducible to making propositional
claims about all inputs of a given kind. To utilize Aristotelian terminology, it
implies the possibility of truly predicating one of many; since without this
possibility we cannot save the universal, and if the universal goes, the
middle term goes with it, and so demonstration becomes impossible.
(77a.5)

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the possibility of having World, and as such, the possibility of making truth
claims, which means that truth claims and facticity have a close structural
relationship. To say that something is for Dasein is to say both that it is and
how it is within a given historical setting. Demonstrative knowledge is
possible for Heidegger but only on the basis of an originary disclosure, which
is in essence a disclosure of the temporal facticity into which Dasein is
thrown.
In what follows my aim to is to make explicit the epistemological
projects of both Aristotle and Heidegger: this will take the form of an
exegesis of Aristotles Posterior Analytics with import from a variety of other
works produced by him as well as an exegesis of the existential analytic of
Dasein found in Heideggers magnum opus Being and Time with the
intention of clarifying the ontological conditions for which something like
truth-telling becomes possible. Subsequently, I will argue that both Aristotle
and Heidegger should be considered Correspondence Theorists in reference
to their linguistic projects. Because language plays such an important role in
truth-telling, and subsequently knowledge as such, an account of how truth
as propositional statement is required to understand in more detail how
demonstrative knowledge as derivative proposition functions. In what
follows I will provide an exegesis of the texts from each of these thinkers that
will provide support for these claims.

2. A Closer Look at Aristotles Language

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Before briefly explicating Aristotles conception of scientific knowledge
as demonstrated belief, it is important to come to terms with Aristotles
usage of language, in particular for the present research, how propositions
correspond to their content. The aboutness of propositions refers to the
constitutive content of the proposition, which has truth criteria in facts of the
world towards which the proposition points.3 To be an object is to be an
object of the understanding. It is of objects of the understanding that the
understanding either affirms or denies in the formulation of propositions. To
say that a proposition is true or false is to say that, as an object of the
understanding, that object either is or is not, and that the predicates of the
object of the understanding either are or not as well, which implies that the
propositions are about objects in the world that are available as an objects of
the understanding. Aristotle famously writes in Metaphysics IV.7:
To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false,
while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not,
is true; so that he who says of anything that it is, or that it is not,

3 Truth as a correspondence between propositional states and states of the


world dates back as far as Aristotle, but maintains a number of more modern
affiliates. James Mursell states, [that] knowledge then, as a set of
propositions or judgments, is something that possess physical reality. in
Mursell, L. James. Truth as Correspondence: A Re-Definition. The Journal of
Philosophy. Vol. 19, No. 9. Mar. 30, 1922. pp. 181-189. Likewise, in Truth and
Falsehood Bertrand Russell states, Thus a belief is true when it corresponds
to a certain associated complex, and false when it does not. (P. 173)
Charlene Elsby states, In the case of beliefs and assertions, it is the relation
between subject and predicate that is mirrored or corresponds, or doesnt;
i.e., the difference between saying of what is that it is, as opposed to that it
is not. in Elsby, Charlene. Aristotles Correspondence Theory of Truth and
What Does Not Exist. Logic and Logical Philosophy. Vol. 25. 2016. p. 67.

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will say either what is true or what is false; but neither what is
nor what is not is said to be or not to be.
Metaphysics, as the science which investigates being as being, along with
the varying attributes of being which belong to beings encountered within
the world, is the science of that which is actual for Aristotle. To make
propositional claims about states of affairs in the world, then, is make
propositional claims about that which is actual, about objects encountered
within the world that are available for cognition. To state that some
proposition is either true or false is to say of what is that it is and of what is
not that it is not, but as a science that investigates the attributes which
belong to being, Metaphysics also investigates how beings be, which means
that for a propositional claim to be true, it must say of what is it that it is and
how that which is in fact actually is. The how here is nuanced and
particular, but it is distinct from merely saying that something exists or
does not exist. Conversely, propositions must say of that which is not that it
is not in order to differentiate it from that which is. We see here that
Aristotle uses propositions to make claims about states of affairs in the
world. But propositions that are used correctly to claim of that which is that
it is and that which is not is in fact not, themselves are not arbitrary
constructions insofar as their referent is not arbitrarily related to the
proposition. Nowhere in this passage has Aristotle identified truth with a
correspondence between propositions and states of affairs in the world; so
far, all we have seen him do is articulate the conditions of truth-telling,

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namely that they say that something is, when it in fact is, and that
something is not, when it is not. This does imply that propositions maintain a
relation between signifier and that which in the world which it signifies, but
there no notion yet of how this relation is developed and maintained.
That there is a relation between signifier and signified and that this
relation not be arbitrary are both required for truth. But this relation is still a
relation between the said, as propositional knowledge, and the actual.
Aristotle writes:
So, since statements are true according to how actual things
are, it is clear that wherever these are such as to allow of
contraries as chance has it, the same necessarily holds for the
contradictories also. This happens with things that are not
always so or are not always not so.
Aristotles intended meaning here is that because statements
make claims about the actual, and their constitutional content
corresponds directly to that which is actual, truth-conduciveness
requires that contrary statements be produced that correspond to
contrary states of affairs in the world, such that the statement reflects
that which is or is not in its semantic organization. In other words, it is
the semantic organization of a statement that determines its truth
conduciveness; correspondence between propositions and states of
affairs in the world means that there is some kind of equivalence
relation between the structural content of a proposition and states of

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affairs in the world. Without positing this as an a priori we are forced
to accept that truth-conduciveness is arbitrarily related to the signifier,
which doesnt seem to correspond with the way in which we currently
understand truth, and doesnt seem to correspond with how we already
use statements. But the question of how this correspondence is
established is what is ultimately at stake in Aristotles Correspondence
Theory of Truth. Is the truthfulness of statements purely a function
of the use-value of statements or is there something actual in the
world onto which these statements map? Is the concept of
truthfulness something we should dispose of? How is
correspondence to be understood? Many such questions still linger.
Aristotles responds to questions such as these in the following
manner:
But since that which is in the sense of being true, or is not in the
sense of being false, depends on combination and separation,
and truth and falsity together depend on the allocation of a pair
of contradictory judgments (for the true judgment affirms where
the subject and predicate really are combined, and denies where
they are separated, while the false judgment has the opposite of
allocation.4
Aristotles concept of truth as combination implies that the actual is
composed of entities encountered as entities of a particular kind and that

4 Aristotle, Metaphysics. VI.4.

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these entities have determinate properties that not only differentiate
themselves from entities of another kind, but also can differentiate
themselves from entities of their own kind. The entity encountered within
the world as actual is referred to as a subject and the properties are
referred to as predicates. It is this combination of subject and the predicate
that determines what kind of object one encounters and in which
determinate particular variation it is encountered. To say that something is,
then, is to say that a statement denotes this combination of properties and
to say that something is not is to say that there is no such combination of
properties. But truthfulness is not in the thing; it is in the equivalence
relation between word and object. Aristotle states, for falsity and truth are
not in thingsbut in thought. While with regard to simple concepts and
whats falsity and truth do not exist even in thought.5
Truthfulness requires judgment, and the combination relation is a
relation between thinking and being, which implies that the combination
relation is a combination in thinking. Therefore, to say that something is or
that something is not, or how something is, requires a thinking subject and a
judgment about the actual; the combination-relation is not a one-to-one
mapping for Aristotle. He further makes the point that thinking in this
regard, or thinking the relation to being, is a different sort of being from
the things that are in the full sense because it is the epistemic subject or
more specifically the epistemic subjects thinking that makes an entity exist

5 Ibid. VI.4.

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as a particular kind of entity in the world, for the thought attaches or
removes either the subjects what or its having a certain quality or quantity
or something else.6 But per Aristotles comment in De Interpretatione,
namely that statements are true according to how actual things are, it is
clear that existence stills determines what the contents of thought are, or in
other words, what is available for the mind to cognize. Therefore, although
the combination of subject and predicate occurs in the mind, the actual
determines what is to be combined in thought such that if different input is
supplied, propositional output will be different still, but only because the
combination of input in the epistemic subject produced the result.
3. Aristotles Epistemology
Aristotle then introduces the possibility of two different kinds of knowledge:
knowledge that we have by demonstration (71b.18) and knowledge that we
have that is not demonstrative (72b.19). That latter form of knowledge
refers to the ability to make a true positive propositional claim that does not
require either syllogistic or inductive reasoning; specifically in this case it
refers to knowledge of the primary premises that form the foundation of the
demonstration that provides knowledge in the prior sense.7 If one can be
said to have knowledge before a proper demonstration, it can only be said of
the premises that formulate the foundation of the demonstration, and only in
such a case as the premises themselves are known immediately to the
6 Ibid. VI.4.
7 Aristotle claims: By demonstration I mean a syllogism productive of
scientific knowledge, a syllogism, that is, the grasp of which is eo ipso such
knowledge. (71b.19)

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epistemic agent, and as prior must themselves be better known than the
knowledge derived from demonstration, which as Aristotle claims is related
to them as effect to cause. (71b.22)8 The truth obtained by demonstrative
knowledge, which is derived from premises, themselves given to the
epistemic agent as basic truths, is what Aristotle calls pure scientific
knowledge. And because demonstration is required to have demonstrative
knowledge, and primary premises, themselves derived from necessary basic
truths are required to have a demonstration, it follows that demonstrative
knowledge is inference from necessary premises. (73a.21)
But how are necessary premises given to the epistemic agent? What
exactly does it mean to have a basic truth given to the epistemic agent as a
primary premise? More importantly, what does it mean substantively for a
premise, which is derived from a basic truth, to be known better than the
conclusion. (72b.25) Prima facie, a claim that-p is equivalent to another
claim that-q if and only if both claims are true. To have reasoned knowledge
of a conclusion, which is knowledge derived from a primary premise,
according to Aristotle, is to have knowledge of a cause. To have knowledge
of a cause means that one derives a causal sequence of events from a prior
and more fundamental truths that themselves are indemonstrable and non-

8 Aristotle concedes at this juncture that the terms prior and better known
are ambiguous terms that need further clarification, but demonstration
through syllogism is impossible without them. So the assumption that we
can have knowledge that is derived from primary premises must be made if
anything like scientific reasoning is possible, but how knowledge of primary
premises is possible is still obscure and in need of clarification according to
Aristotle.

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derivative, meaning that the truths that found the building blocks of
demonstration, which elicit premises, are not formed through rational
processes, and thus to know them is not to give a causal explanation for
their existence; they are in some primordial sense given to the epistemic
agent immediately from experience. While there is likely a scientific
explanation for them, one that posits a materialist and atomistic worldview,
the primary experience of basic truth is still prior to a causal explanation,
which means that we will forever be less convinced of derivative claims
because they are the effect of a prior experience of truth.
We are thus committed to accepting each of the following propositions
concerning demonstrated knowledge:
i)

Premises of demonstrated knowledge that are basic beliefs are true,


primary, and immediate.

ii)

As true and primary, basic beliefs are indemonstrable, which means


they are not believed on the basis logical derivation.

iii)

Premises are better known and prior to the reasoned conclusions


that are derived from them.

iv)

Premises cause conclusions.

v)

Demonstrated knowledge means to know the cause of a belief.


An immediate paradox appears at this juncture: what if there is no

prior knowledge? How can we justify propositional claims that are reasoned
from basic truths if we require that all truths are demonstrable? 9 Is it true
9 Aristotle claims: But we are faced with this paradox if a student whose
belief rests on demonstration has not prior knowledge; a man must believe

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that for a belief to be justified it must itself be justified by another belief?
And if so, how is anything like scientific knowledge, derived from reasoned
argumentation, possible if we posit the impossibility of deriving basic truths
indemonstrably? The trouble here is that positing that-p is either the result
of demonstration or is itself indemonstrable. If we require all beliefs of a
given kind be supported by all other beliefs of a similar kind, we are
confronted with the paradox that all while all beliefs can be justified as the
result of a demonstration, the possibility of positing a foundation on which to
build beliefs becomes impossible because each time a belief is posited
further justification is presumably required, which means that no beliefs are
in fact justified, and thus skepticism ensues. If skepticism ensues as a result
of this paradox, demonstrative knowledge of the kind that Aristotle is
positing here becomes impossible because no belief is better known than
any other. One can imagine that a colloquial conversation in which this
concept is comically put on display might run as follows:
Joan: Atoms are the fundamental building blocks of all life on earth.
Jon: How do you know?
Joan: I know because it is a universal experience for those who investigate
the building blocks of all life on earth that they encounter the presence of
atoms.
in some, if not all, of the basic truths more than in the conclusion. Moreover,
if a man sets out to acquire the scientific knowledge that comes through
demonstration, he must not only have a better knowledge of the basic truths
and a firmer conviction of them than of the connexion which is being
demonstrated: more than this, nothing must be more certain or better known
to him than these basic truths in their character (72a.35)

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Jon: How do you know?
Joan: I know because the conceptual experience, which is supported by the
universal perceptual experience, of those who investigate the building blocks
of life on earth is sufficient to show the veracity of this claim
indemonstrably.
Jon: Well, how do you know?
As ridiculous as a conversation as this might sound to the outsider, the
skeptic can argue that it is perfectly reasonable to continue with this line of
questioning, refusing all the while to accept that any belief of the kind thatp can be justified indemonstrably.10 The logical result of this line of
questioning is that basic beliefs are not basic but are in fact prior beliefs in a
causal sequence of beliefs that have no point of origin sufficient from which
to justify succeeding beliefs. Therefore, one can have beliefs, and those
beliefs may be true beliefs, but one can never be justified in positing those
beliefs; the shroud of skepticism will forever haunt the assertion.
Another breed of the skeptics argument that holds a certain allure is that, in
so far as beliefs can serve as justification of some succeeding beliefs, all
beliefs must be able to serve as justification for all other beliefs. The
implication is that if one is able to make an assertion of the kind that-p, all
other beliefs of the kind that-q must in some way justify the proposition

10 Of this breed of skepticism, Aristotle claims that, assuming that there is


no way of knowing other than by demonstration, maintain that an infinite
regress is involved, on the ground that if behind the prior stands no primary,
we could not know the posterior through the prior (wherein they are right, for
one cannot traverse an infinite series) (72b.7-10)

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that-p, while the proposition that-p must at the same time serve to justify
further propositions as well. While the regress may not theoretically be
infinite as there may not be an infinite set of possible assertions of the kind
that-q it would still be a monumental task to perform, and thus the
prudent thinker might curb this aspiration by positing that this kind of
justification is supererogatory and indeed never practically accessible. If
supererogatory and never practically accessible, why posit it as a condition?
If one accepts this line of reasoning that it is supererogatory that any belief
of the kind that-p can and must be justified by all propositions of the kind
that-q or one simply posits the possibility, and indeed necessity, of basic
beliefs that are known indemonstrably then one can fall back on the
Foundationalist argument of the Aristotelian kind that demonstrative
knowledge is possible but only because certain beliefs qualify as basic, and
that a linear and sequential ordering of justified beliefs can be derived from
basic beliefs that are justified indemonstrably from an originative source 11.
There is a distinction that needs to be made here between the idea that for
any belief of the kind that-p it is possible for all other beliefs of the kind
that-q to serve as justification for that belief, and the idea that beliefs are
justified in virtue of how they cohere with other beliefs in a belief set.12 The
prior implies the possibility of numerous strains of sequentially ordered
beliefs, where all beliefs of a given kind serve as justification for the
11 Aristotle. Metaphysics. 72b. 24
12 For modern articulations of the Coherentist position see Laurence
Bonjours The Structure of Empirical Knowledge (1985) and Keith Lehrers
Knowledge (1974) and Theory of Knowledge (1990).

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demonstrated belief that-p, whereas the latter denies the possibility of this
sequential ordering and instead posits the possibility, and indeed the
necessity, of the coherence between beliefs, where no beliefs are
foundational and all beliefs serve to justify all other beliefs.
The motivation for establishing the viability basic beliefs in epistemology
derives not only from Aristotles account of demonstrative knowledge in the
Posterior Analytics but also from criticisms of Coherentist approaches, citing
the need for access to external truth and not just mutually justifying beliefs,
and from various approaches for solving the regress problem, a conversation
that also began with Aristotle in the Posterior Analytics (72b.5); now called
the problem of infinite regress.13 The problem of infinite regress begins with
the contested proposition that all truths are demonstrable, and because all
truths are demonstrable, there can be no such thing as basic beliefs,
because the possibility of basic beliefs is premised on the assumption that an
epistemic agent can justifiably assert certain beliefs without them first
having been demonstrated. In other words, basic beliefs are given
indemonstrably and non-derivatively; if one denies this assumption, the
possibility of positing a that-p that is given non-derivatively becomes

13 This problem was picked up by a number of scholars in the Middle Ages as


well; see Grellard, Christophe. Scepticism, Demonstration and the Infinite
Regress Argument (Nicholas of Autrecourt and John Buridan). Vivarium 45,
2007, pp. 328-342. For contemporary formulations of the regress problem
see: Aikan, Scott F. Epistemology and the Regress Problem, 2011., Cling, A.
The Epistemic Regress Problem. Forthcoming Philosophical Studies.,
Howard-Synder, Daniel & Coffman, E.J. Three Arguments Against
Foundationalism: Arbitrariness, Epistemic Regress, and Existential Support.
Canadian Journal of Philosophy. Mar. 2015.

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impossible, and thus justification succumbs to the need or at least the
possibility of an infinite set of demonstrations that justify a given
proposition.
Obvious problems arise here: 1) If there are an infinite set of propositions
that are required to justify any given proposition then the possibility of
justifying a proposition becomes impossible and skepticism ensues.14 If
skepticism ensues justifiably based on the assumption that all propositions
must be demonstrated, and subsequently that this would require an infinite
chain of demonstrations without any originative source15 serving as an
appropriate foundation, then the question of justification becomes mere
intellectual chatter. 2) If the regress does end, and we still hold fast to the
assumption that all beliefs must demonstrated, then the regress must
therefore end in a belief that is not justified and not justifiable. If the
justification of a belief is premised on another belief that is not already
justified, then, again, the question of justification becomes mere intellectual
chatter.16 3) Lastly, if we assume that a belief can be justified by an infinite
set of justifiable beliefs, or rather that there is a finite albeit enormous set
of beliefs that one can have, making it possible that all beliefs can be
justified, we are now saddled with the Coherentist dilemma of determining

14 It is to this argument that Aristotle is speaking when he makes the claim,


Some hold that, owing to the primary premises, there is no scientific
knowledge. (72b.5)
15 Aristotle. Metaphysics. 72b. 24
16 Likewise, it is to this argument that Aristotle is speaking when he makes
the claim, Others think there is, but that all truths are demonstrable. (72b.
6)

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how to make an external connection to truth. Not all beliefs are true. A
person may believe that the cookie monster is real or that the moon is made
of fudge but that doesnt make the belief either true or justified. Conversely,
beliefs in a finite belief set may perfectly cohere such that each belief in the
set figures into the demonstration of every other belief in the belief set but if
there is no external connection to truth, especially one that can be
maintained non-derivatively then again justification becomes questionable.
Aristotle simply denies the possibility of traversing an infinite series of
demonstrations and in so doing denounces the possibility of knowledge that
posits the assumption that demonstrative knowledge is possible after an
infinite series; meaning, if one cannot account for the infinite regress by
beginning with the assumption that knowledge is possible only by beginning
with a set of beliefs that are indemonstrable, then knowledge itself is
impossible. It is for these reasons that epistemic agents have some interest
in solving the regress problem.
The motivation for foundationalism is reducible to the motive to establish the
grounds for the possibility of knowledge. Given the criticisms of Coherentist
research, what has been termed Foundationalism, which in sum is a theory
of knowledge that posits that knowledge is possible but only if we begin a set
of beliefs that are known without demonstration from what Aristotle calls
an originative source17 - and build a set of positive propositions of the form
that-p using these non-derivatively derived basic beliefs as premises, the

17 Aristotle. Metaphysics. 72b. 24

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need for basic beliefs, or at least the assumption that positive practical
propositions of the form that-p can be derived from this originative
source, is required for knowledge.

3. The Structure of Heideggers Rationality


Questions of logic and language haunt Heideggers formulation of the
existential analytic of Dasein to such an extent that charges of irrationalism
and accusations that his anti-metaphysical project is equivalent to a mere
meaningless sequences of words18 count as crippling claims against his
corpus still. Assuming that epistemology, and more specifically, logic, deals
in propositional claims of the kind that-p, and further that our goal as
researchers is to discover the meaning of these claims, with particular
emphasis on how they are able to disclose truths about the world and how
they operate systemically within a network of meaning composed of various
other strings of propositional claims of the kind that-p to disclose truths
about the world, the charge of irrationalism needs to be addressed, even if
only briefly, before giving a detailed analysis of how this project might
cohere or conflict with another. What is immediately puzzling to the
informed researcher who is assessing a claim such as the one cited here is
that Heidegger is beholden to, and in fact avowedly a student of, the father
of logic, Aristotle. While his work proposes a revolutionary reading of the
ancient idea of truth, especially as it is presented in the form of aletheia, it is
18 Carnap, R. The Elimination of Metaphysics Through a Logical Analysis of
Langauge. P. 72.

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still grounded in the same fundamental ideas that gave birth to Aristotles
Metaphysics, a work that laid the foundation of our modern system of
categorical logic. Rudolph Carnap seems to ignore this backdrop and opts
instead to isolate a single passage from Heideggers corpus and utilize it as
representative of an entire tradition; dismantling this passage by exposing
the syntactical irregularities of it, Carnap gives the impression that the entire
tradition is subject to the charge of irrationality, a charge that I will show is a
misrepresentation of what is fundamentally at stake in Heideggers writing if
we opt instead to ignore a singular passage in which his word choice was less
than ideal.
In what follows I will present an analysis of Heideggers account of
truth as aletheia with the intention of arguing that comprehensively his
project is indebted to a similar correspondence theory of truth that Aristotle
uses as a foundation for his theory of knowledge. I will further argue that
truth as aletheia is compatible with the same foundationalist research that
gives rise to syllogistic reasoning that uses basic beliefs as the foundation of
knowledge and that it is only because these beliefs are given indemonstrably
that anything like syllogistic reasoning is possible. It is at this site, however,
that the greatest danger of syllogistic reasoning becomes apparent; as
reasoning that is grounded in beliefs given indemonstrably, these basic
beliefs form the foundation for all that can be known. Any proposition thatp is either a basic belief or a belief that is derived from a chain of reasoning
that has at its foundation a basic belief. Basic beliefs are derived from what

22
Aristotle calls an originative source,19 which simply means the world as it is
disclosed to an epistemic agent in first-person experience. The relationship
between being and epistemic agent is necessary for the construction of
these beliefs, and the beliefs themselves, insofar as they are truthconducive, have satisfaction conditions in are states of the world. Basic
beliefs that are positive propositions of the kind that-p are true or false
based on whether they correspond to facts about the world that are external
to epistemic agents, but are nonetheless disclosed to epistemic agents, via
perceptual processes, within a given facticity.
Facticity refers to the temporal ecstatic structure of the world that is
disclosed to an epistemic agent, and as we will see shortly, is also a
necessary condition for the construction of basic beliefs, and thus
demonstrative knowledge more generally. The danger therein lies, as I will
show, in demonstrative knowledge that forms positive propositions of the
kind that-p that are derived from basic beliefs that meet the criteria listed
here but proceed more formally to posit truths about the world that fail to
disclose the temporal ecstatic structure, given as experience through
perceptual processes, that basic beliefs entail. Claims of this nature might
reveal truth as a function of the syntactical structure of language, a truth
that entails varying degrees of disclosure, but does so at the expense of
truth as relationship with an originative source,20 resulting in an abstraction
away from the difference disclosure entails. By reconceiving of truth as
19 72b.24
20 Aristotle. Metaphysics. 72b. 24

23
aletheia, Heidegger intends to return the function of truth telling to an
experience with this originative source, thereby qualifying propositional
claims of the kind that-p to an approximate correspondence to Being as it is
disclosed to epistemic agents in the unfolding of a temporal ecstatic
structure.
Heidegger begins his lecture course entitled, The Essence of Truth with
what appears to be a classical formulation of the Correspondence Theory of
Truth (CT), which states that any proposition P is true if and only if it
corresponds with facts about the world about which the proposition makes a
claim. CT begins with the idea that there is an epistemic subject S that
formulates propositions about the world P that have truth criteria that are
external to the epistemic subject C in states of the world F.21 The being-true
of a any proposition P then entails this link of correspondence C between S
and F. Truth conditions are then a function of the interplay between P and F,
with C forming an identity relation between the proposition and states of the
world. To say that some proposition is true, then, is to that that the states of
the world towards which the proposition point accord with the proposition as
positively formulated. Consider as an example the proposition the dog is
green; this proposition contains a subject (i.e. a dog) and a singular
predicate (i.e. is green). This proposition also points towards some state in
the world, presumably, if the statement is considered a true statement,

21 Heidegger claims on page 1 of The Essence of Truth: Truth is correctness


[Richtigkeit]. So truth is correspondence, grounded in correctness, between
a proposition and thing.

24
towards a particular entity22 in the world that contains the universal quality
of dog-ness combined with the universal predicate of green-ness.
We may further break this proposition down by breaking down the
predicates contained in the universal subject dog-ness, which include such
predicates as mammal, organism, cellular structure, metabolic structure,
four-leggedness, etc. By listing the predicates contained in the universal
subject, we are adding complexity to the truth criteria C that form the link
between proposition P and states of the world F that make a proposition
either true or false. In other words, the proposition the dog is green is true
if an only if it refers to a subject, dog, itself containing the predicates of the
universal dog-ness, namely mammal, organism, metabolic structure, fourleggedness, etc. and the subsequent predicate green attached initially to
the proposition the dog is green. For the proposition to be true, then, the
predicate green must contain all the properties of green-ness, namely, the
character of being a visual property of an entity that falls around 510nm on
the electromagnetic spectrum.
Correspondence theory causes the researcher to confront a peculiar
issue that Heidegger points out in his lecture series an idea that mirrors
Aristotles idea that the properties of a triangle are known before disclosure
namely that we know particular truths when they are formulated because
they are intelligible to us already and also because they are either correct or

22 Heidegger claims: That about which something is said in in this


proposition, that towards which it is directed, must already be given as the
measure for the proposition (2)

25
incorrect in their directedness toward states of affairs in the world. An
example of a particular truth that might be intelligible to us already is that
the desk on which my computer is sitting is white, formulated formally as
this desk is white. Another example might be the sun is currently shining
or Sacramento is the capital of California. Returning to the discussion of
basic beliefs, that-the desk is white and that-the sun is currently shining
might be considered basic because they are given through perceptual
processes that, when derived under ideal conditions, are justified
indemonstrably. But prior to knowing the that-p of the proposition, we
already in some sense know the essence of truth as such, and it seems that
it is only by knowing the essence of truth that we are able to know the thatp of particular truths, which appear to correspond to particular entities that
maintain essence-hood as a predicate.23 Predication is then predicated on
essence-hood, which is further predicated on always already knowing what
it means for something to be true, which is only possible for an epistemic
subject who already has World, or a structure of signification given first by
ontical depictions of the temporal ecstatic unity.24 To make a propositional
claim of the kind that-p or every X is a Y or two thirds of these apples are

23 Heidegger states: In this way we know the essence of truth, what it is,
i.e. correspondence, correctness in the sense of directedness-toWe also
know that by the essence of a thing we mean the universal, and we know
what essence is as essence: essence-hood, that which makes essence what
it is. (2)
24 Heidegger states: So we must already know what and how the thing is
about which we speak. We know that a light is on here. Such knowing
[Wissen] can only arise from knowledge [Erkenntnis], and knowledge grasps
the true, for false knowledge is no knowledge at all. (2)

26
red is to make a claim that is either true or false with truth conditions being
external to the epistemic subject, but also to presuppose that the predication
contained in the proposition is in some sense known already by an epistemic
agent because the essence of truth is already known by epistemic agents
and is disclosed as essence-hood for a Being that already has world.
What does it mean for a Being to already have world? And why is
essence-hood disclosed for predication only to a being that already has
world? Heidegger gives his most robust formulation of the existential
analytic of Dasein which entails Being-in-the-world in his magnum opus,
Being and Time. He begins with a preliminary sketch of Being-in-the-world in
terms of what are Daseins [Da-sein a Being that has a there] defining
characteristics. We will remember from BT I.2.7 that a re-examination of the
question of Being must first begin with the entity for which Being is a
question; its character of inquiry being what is the mode of Being for that
entity that is concerned with Being. To be sure, the existential analytic of
Dasein is not an analysis of the ontical properties of a Being that has a there,
insofar as all that can be said about Da-sein is reducible to descriptions of
entities in the world, Dasein itself being one of those entities. Being-in-theworld is a defining characteristic of Dasein and entails an inquiry into the
ontological structure of the world and Worldhood in general, which does in
fact begin in the ontical, but through an analysis of Worldhood, moves
quickly to an analysis of the ontological constitution of the inhood [Inheit] of
Dasein. We therefore find that our preliminary analysis of Being-in-the-world

27
contains three distinct moments: 1) an analysis of what it means to be inthe-world, 2) the physical entity that has as its defining characteristic Beingin-the-world, answering the question of who is in the world or has World,
and 3) Being-in [In-sein], or the formal existential expression of a Being that
has a proximal relation to beings in a physical location.25
In order to elaborate on the idea of Worldhood in general, Heidegger
proposes that the first step is to enumerate the things in the world; what
things individually exist numerically. The next step is to give an account of
them ontically, or describe them in terms of the essence-hood that appears
for predication. This is to say that the first step is simply to identify that
something exists presumably through indemonstrable, introspected,
perceptual processes that begin as ontical disclosure, and only then to
describe the entity in such and such a way according to how the predicates
attached to the entity reveal themselves. The final step is to form an identity
relation, which implies a correspondence relation between a word and the
essence-hood of a bundle of predicates attached to a given entity, towards
which the word points. To say that some numerically identical entity is an X
is to say that that particular entity contains the same predicate or
predicates, disclosed as ontical essence-hood, as all other entities of a
particular kind, thus ontologically establishing the possibility of positing
universal and otherwise ontological claims.26
25 Heidegger, M. Being and Time. p. 78-79.
26 Interesting to note here is that Heidegger seems to propose the possibility
of making universal claims according to the same format that Aristotle uses,
i.e. imputing the possibility of predicating one of many to a linguistic

28
What is of particular importance for this line of reasoning is how
entities initially reveal themselves. If the ontological structure of worldhood,
and the signification contained therein, begins primordially as ontical
properties, signification itself is derivative of the essence-hood of
predication. To posit that some entity is an X is to establish an identity
relation or an equivalence relation between the predicates, revealed as
the essence-hood of the properties of X, and the ontological conditions of
Worldhood that X entail, which refer to 1) ontical properties, 2) ontological
properties, and 3) wherein a factical Dasein lives, physically and temporally.
Heidegger also notes that world designates the ontologico-existential
concept of worldhood, that, whichever structural wholes a world has at the
time, it will still maintain the ontological a priori of worldhood in general,
which means nothing less than worldhood is a necessary condition of all of
the prior, even if in its modes it differs.27
The world of the ontical is the totality of entities that can be presentat-hand (i.e. science), which has as its defining characteristic the description
of entities in terms of the properties that reveal themselves as essence-hood.
Ontical propositions of the kind that-p might take the form of the grass is

paradigm that maintains a correspondence relation between word and


essence-hood that appears phenomenologically for a Dasein that has
Worldhood as structural ontological necessity. Universality, therefore, is
derivative of Worldhood because the possibility of making universal claims
becomes possible because predication is premised on the appearing of
essence-hood, which itself begins as ontical descriptions of entities, even if it
has disclosure, and all the concomitant structural necessities contained
therein, as its basis.
27 Heidegger, M. Being and Time. p. 93.

29
green or these tires are black or this book weighs two pounds; these are
propositions that posit a subject in combination with a set of predicates, with
the ontical properties attached to the subject acting as predicates. All that
can said to be known as propositional knowledge of the kind that-p must
necessarily begin as ontical knowledge, or propositions that describe an
entity in terms of its properties. Thus, Worldhood entails primordially the
totality of entities that can be present-at-hand, which implies ontical
predicates that are ontologically distinct from, yet necessarily bound to, the
subject to which they belong.
It is only insofar as there is a World that entities can show themselves,
qua Being, as a particular kind of Being. But let us remember from BT
III.A.16 that Heidegger discovers in his analysis of the Worldhood of the
World, various modes of everydayness that that reveal themselves in their
modes of concern: insofar as Dasein [Da-sein] is constituted by being-in-theworld, an understanding of the Being of its self belongs to its Being28, again,
hence the reason Heidegger begins his re-examination of Being with Dasein.
By analyzing Daseins various modes of concern, Heidegger intends to reveal
the existential constitution of the there, and in so doing, articulates the
ontological conditions of being-in as such. Being-in is essential to a Being
that is constituted by being-in-the-world, and in every case it has a there,
which means that its essential character is that of not being closed off to the

28 Heidegger, M. Being and Time. p. 102.

30
world; it is because of this opening that anything like disclosure is possible. 29
But instead of positing disclosure as an act of knowing one which would
require a subject voluntarily adopting the proposition that-p which
corresponds to some state of the world distinct from the knowing subject,

29 Ibid. p. 171. It is clear from this passage, and the subsequent


notion of the openness that Dasein maintains as a structural characteristic,
that access to the world is a necessary condition for disclosure. It is because
of this idea of the structural openness of Dasein that we are lead to believe
that basic beliefs in the sense of beliefs that are given indemonstrably and
non-derivatively, which form the foundation of demonstrative knowledge are derived from this opening and are in some sense required for knowledge
conceived of as aletheia, which means that Heideggers epistemology,
insofar as it can be called an epistemology, most closely aligns with a
Foundationalist approach that builds propositions from basic beliefs that start
with this primordial openness. It is difficult to impute this position to
Heidegger with any certainty, however, because he makes reference to the
Coherentist paradigm in Science and Reflection, where he states that,
Every new phenomenon emerging within an area of science is refined to
such a point that it fits into the normative objective coherence of the theory.
That normative coherence itself is thereby changed from time to time. (169)
Important to note here is that Heideggers language is conditional, and that
coherence appears to be a contingent and derivative condition, whereas,
structurally is necessary that Dasein first have the world disclosed, which
implies that if coherence between propositions is in fact a condition, it is so
only because the world has first been disclosed, which implies basic beliefs
that are non-derivative. It mirrors Aristotles accommodation of Coherentism
when he states, for with a true view all the facts harmonize, but with
falsehood truth quickly disagrees. In Nicomachean Ethics 1098b11-12.
Contemporary epistemologists have picked up this Foundationalist line of
thinking as well. See Alston, W. Two Types of Foundationalism. Journal of
Philosophy 73, 1976, 165-185., Alston, W. Has Foundationalism Been
Refuted? Philosophical Studies 29, 1976, 287-305., Delaney, C.F.
Foundations of Empirical Knowledge Again. New Scholasticism L, 1976, 119., Pastin, M. C.I. Lewiss Radical Foundationalism. Nous 9, 1975, 407420., and Pastin, M. Modest Foundationalism and Self-Warrant. American
Philosophical Quarterly 4, 1975, 141-149.

31
Dasein Heidegger claims instead that Dasein is its disclosedness as a mode
of being towards the World.30
The existential constitution of the there, given for an entity which
has as its essential way of being Being-in as a structural, ontological
necessity, has two constitutive ways of being the there: as understanding
and as state-of-mind.31 In BT V.A.29 Heidegger gives an in-depth formulation
of how Daseins state-of-mind is ontically most familiar to us, and he does
so in terms of our mood and our Being-attuned. While Daseins state-ofmind is a topic that is relevant for understanding the different modes by
which Dasein comports itself towards its potentiality-for-being, and is
equiprimoridal in the sense that it is constitutionally concurrent with all other
modes of being-in-the-world, state-of-mind is but an existential attribute that
accompanies understanding. As an existential attribute accompanying the
understanding, it is ontologically distinct from the understanding, which is
the mode of Being-in that allows Dasein to develop propositional
statements of the kind that-p; meaning, discussions of mood and of Beingattuned are relevant for the existential analytic of Dasein, but only as ontical
descriptions of the existential attributes that accompany being-in-the-world,
not as ontologically significant for disclosure. Therefore, analyzing Daseins
state-of-mind is relevant existentially, but not directly epistemologically,
even if the prior has an indirect influence on the latter.
30 Heidegger, M. Being and Time. p. 171 Heidegger states, By reason of this
disclosedness, this entity (Dasein), together with the Being-there of the
world, is there for itself.
31 BT.V.28

32
While we have already discussed in brief the concept of facticity as one
ontological condition of the possibility of Worldhood, let us now turn our
discussion to facticity as it concerns understanding. Born into the world,
Dasein is thrown into a facticity, which entails a physical location,
temporality, and a world of signification that exists ecstatically. In order to
analyze Daseins thrownness into a specific location, which is a further
elaboration on the ontological constitution of the inhood [inheit] of Dasein
with specific emphasis on the existential constitution of the there,
Heidegger employs the term region. By region, Heidegger means
generally what we already understand the term region to mean, namely a
space, a physical location in which Dasein dwells, and it is only within a
determinate region that we encounter entities within-the-world. This is not
to say that were a Dasein to leave one region and go to another or to
compare the ontical properties of ontologically equivalent entities across
regions that propositional statements directed towards these entities would
become meaningless32; rather it is to say spatiality is a characteristic of the
insideness [Inwendigkeit] that is founded upon the worldhood of the world,
and equipment that is encountered ready-to-hand takes on the character of a
closeness that begins strictly as a proximal closeness. 33
When Heidegger uses the term closeness in BT III.C.22 it takes on a
variety of meanings, meanings that begin with Daseins proximity to entities

32 Heidegger claims that the readiness-to-hand which belongs to any region


beforehand has the character of inconspicuous familiarity.
33 Heidegger, M. Being and Time. p. 135.

33
encountered in the environment within regions, and quickly takes on a
different meaning when entities become equipment ready-to-hand forthe-sake-of the actualization of some possibility. The closeness of
equipment encountered in the environment, although primordially spatial,
takes on a closeness that cannot be measured in distance when it is
encountered ready-to-hand. The change in character of the closeness of
entities is a change in the ontologico-existential mode that is ascertained,
not immediately as a spatial concern, but derivatively as a change in the
ontologico-existential mode of comportment towards some possibility, and it
regulates itself34 as circumspection, calculation, manipulation, and using. A
region, which again begins as spatial, is derivatively the site at which
Daseins circumspective dealings with the world establish the possibility for
equipment to belong somewhere as equipment rather than simply as an
entity with a set of properties. The discovery of regions is co-determined
[mitbestimnt] by the totality of involvements, which means that readinessto-hand belongs to a region beforehand. And spatiality has its own unity
through the totality-of-involvements in-accordance-with-the-world
[weltmassige].
Readiness-to-hand as pre-ontological understanding is possible only
for a being which, in its Being, being is an issue. Understanding is selfprojective Being towards its ownmost potentiality-for-Being, with care acting
as Daseins essential mode of being-in-the-world. To say that Daseins

34 Heidegger, M. Being and Time. p. 135.

34
essential mode of being-in-the-world is care is to say that as Dasein projects
itself upon possibilities it navigates its world as Being-alongside tools that
are employed for-the-sake-of actualizing some possibility. Constitutively,
Dasein projects itself upon possibilities, which is to that as a self-projective
Being Dasein is always already ahead of itself as Being-ahead-of-itself, and
that the referential totality of significance, which is grounded first in being-inthe-world and then as Being-alongside entities within-the-world, is tied up in
the for-the-sake-of-which; Being-ahead-of-oneself is an existentialontological a priori for existentiell possibilities. Care, then, is also an
existential a priori, and in fact lies prior to any factical attitude, meaning that
as an existential a priori care also lies in every factical attitude, which also
means that the Being-ahead-of-oneself lies in every factical attitude. As
Dasein throws itself into existentiell possibilities, then, it confronts entities
within-the-world within a facticity that is already ahead of itself. The point
of the preceding is that because Daseins being-in-the-world is always
already ahead of itself, and the totality of significance is already tied up in
the for-the-sake-of-which, facticity, which is an ontological condition for the
possibility of Worldhood, which is further a condition for the disclosure of
beings within-the-world, is also tied up in the for-the-sake-of-which;
disclosure, therefore, entails Dasein Being-ahead-of-itself as an existentialontological a priori.
This brings us finally to Heideggers revolutionary reading of the idea
of truth as Aletheia. To be sure, reconceiving the idea of truth by

35
reconceiving the ancient notion of Aletheia is not Heideggers attempt to
abandon language or the correspondence theory of truth that he derives in
large part from Aristotle. He intends instead to reconceive the way in which
Dasein understands Being by reconceiving of Daseins relationship to Being,
which causes him from there develop his ideas concerning the Worldhood of
the World and Daseins Being-in-the-world as conditions of the possibility of
truth. The Greek word for truth is aletheia and means unhiddenness
[Unverborgenheit]. It has a distinctive character that is not initially positive
in the sense that an epistemic subject makes a positive assertion that is
assessed as true or false by a recipient in terms of its correctedness about
states of affairs in the world. Heidegger notes that it is different in character
to the German word for truth warheit and the Latin word for truth veritas.35
Both of these terms have the connotation of a correspondence between the
positive proposition that-p and states of affairs in the world. Initially, the
Greek word for aletheia has nothing to do with assertion in the formal sense;
it begins as a privative concept. We will remember from BT V.28 that
disclosedness for Dasein does not presuppose a knowing subject that initially
adopts some proposition that-p in a deontological manner although we
will for the time leave open the question of whether demonstrative
knowledge or derivative knowledge does entail epistemic voluntarism.
Instead, Dasein, who has the character of openness as a structural

35 Heidegger, M. The Essence of Truth. P. 8.

36
ontological a priori, is its disclosedness, which means that initially aletheia
refers to an alteration in Daseins primordial state.
As privative, aletheia, which is best translated as unhiddenness, takes
on the character of a no-longer-hidden or without-hiddenness, and this
privation refers to Daseins primordial state, but not as a formal
epistemological assertion of the form that-p. So before addressing truth as
an assertion, it is primordially a relation to Being, which itself is necessarily
grounded in the ontologico-exisential a priori of being-in-the-world.
Unhiddenness then becomes correctness, in its simple self-evidence, through
a development of the concept. If we assume, then, that truth begins as a
primary revealing or disclosing, and only then takes on the character of a
proposition, we are committed to the idea that propositional knowledge is a
development that begins as disclosure; our investigation therefore takes on
the character of an analysis of this transition from truth as aletheia (or
unhiddenness) to propositional knowledge, with our primary focus of inquiry
being on their characteristic intertwinedness.36 Or, as Heidegger states in
The Essence of Truth, our investigation is a meditation on this transition from
disclosedness to propositional knowledge, which itself is an occurrence, 37
or to be more specific, an event in Being, the site of which is thinking as it is
directed towards Being.38
36 Ibid. p. 12.
37 Ibid. p. 12.
38 In his book The Claim of Language: A Case for the Humanities,
Christopher Fynsk argues that goal of the humanities is to represent what it
means to be human, and assuming that knowledge, and subsequently
propositions, require an epistemic subject, the goal of the humanities then

37
In BT VI.44.A Heidegger points out that the essence of truth is defined
as having three separate components: 1) truth as an assertion or a judgment
that-p is correct, 2) the idea that for a judgment to be considered true there
must be some agreement between the judgment and the object, and 3) that
according to Aristotle, truth is agreement between proposition and object
or between proposition and state of affair in the world. Previously, we noted
that the Correspondence Theory of Truth (CT) states that any proposition P is
true if and only if it corresponds with facts about the world about which the
proposition makes a claim, and that CT begins with the idea that there is an
epistemic subject S that formulates propositions about the world P that have
truth criteria that are external to the epistemic subject C in states of the
world F. An initial disjunction is apparent here: on the one hand, the world is
disclosed to Dasein (Da-sein a being that has a there), through its
primordial openness, as unhiddenness; disclosure does not appeal to the
notion of a subject who adopts a truth or affirms that something is true, but
rather, is in the truth, and marks a change in Daseins primordial state. On
the other hand, CT does posit an ontological separation between the subject
and the object, where some subject, S, formulates propositions about the
world, F, which are either true or false based on whether the propositions
correspond to facts about the world, C. Our investigation, then, per
becomes questioning the structure and structures of representation to
determine the extent of the dissociation between language and existential
modalities. As such, he claims, philosophy as a practice must rethink its
technical and artistic performance must rethink its representation in order
to rethink its performative engagement; it must rethink its symbol in order to
disclose and thereby become performative.

38
Heideggers claim that transition from unhiddenness to propositional
knowledge is an occurrence, must take the form of an investigation that
analyzes how truth as disclosure, which assumes that Dasein is in truth
which is then revealed, becomes truth as propositional knowledge, which
assumes a subject that formulates a proposition of the form that-p, that
began as disclosure, but through the intertwindeness between aletheia and
correctedness takes the form of a proposition.39
To make the judgment that some proposition is true is to claim that
there is an agreement in the sense of an adequatio between the
proposition and states of affairs in the world. We already noted earlier that
to say that some numerically identical entity is an X is to say that that
particular entity contains the same predicate or predicates, disclosed as
ontical essence-hood, as all other entities of a particular kind. This identity
relation establishes the ability to make universal and ontological claims
regarding entities of a given kind. The adequatio of the assertion, then, is
this equivalence between predicates, or bundle of predicates, attached to a
subject, and symbolic designation that points to these predicates, or bundle
of predicates, attached to a subject; it is in this sense that Heidegger claims

39 To return this discussion to an analysis of Heidegger and Aristotle, when


discussing how basic beliefs become propositions in the Posterior Analytics,
Aristotle admits that basic beliefs are prior and better known terms he
uses in reference to how we understand the transition from basic beliefs to
higher order beliefs and that this transition is ambiguous and in need
further clarification, but demonstration through syllogism is impossible
without basic beliefs as a foundation. Heidegger is in a similar dilemma
here, and his analysis of how disclosure becomes assertion mirrors Aristotles
position on basic beliefs and derivative knowledge.

39
there is a relation, which implies a truth-relation, between word and object.
But this truth-relation is still in need of clarification. Although, as we have
seen, the adequatio of an assertion refers to an equivalence relation
between word and object, the disclosure of predicates, given an ontical
essence-hood attached to some object, is possible only for a Being that
always already has World, so it will always refer back to being-in-the-world,
which is an ontological a priori for any instance of disclosure. The ontological
conditions of Worldhood, again, refer to 1) ontical properties, 2) ontological
properties, and 3) wherein a factical Dasein lives, physically and
temporally.40 The conclusion we can draw here is that, although the
adequatio of an assertion that acts as the truth-relation between word and
object presupposes a relational totality, it also presupposes the context of
Being41, grounded in being-in-the-world, that makes disclosure possible.
Therefore, the relation between word and Being, given by the adequatio,
refers not just to the ontical and ontological properties of an entity, but also
to the facticity into which Dasein is thrown, which itself has a temporal and a
spatial character.
Although it is important to understand in what the adequatio consists,
it is also important to understand what it is not: the adequatio is not, strictly
speaking, an agreement of knowing with its object; the agreement is
between the word, as symbolic signification, and the essence-hood of the
predicates attached to an object, is disclosed for a being that always already
40 Heidegger, M. Being and Time. p. 93.
41 Ibid. p. 259.

40
has World, which implies ontical properties, ontological properties, and
facticity. If we relegate the adequatio to an agreement between the word
and the object, the equivalence relation will ignore temporality, spatiality,
and Worldhood as such, which would undercut the very meaning of
Heideggers undertaking. The adequatio is also not an agreement between
the psychical and the physical, insofar as the physical is represented in the
psychical, and in some sense corresponds to what is found in the physical.
Again, disclosure begins with Daseins openness to the world, and the world
is disclosed to Dasein primordially as a Being that is always already in the
truth; the transition from disclosure to propositional knowledge, which
implies an intertwindeness between the unhiddeness of an object and the
relation of correspondence between proposition and world that develop from
this originary unhiddenness, always refers back to Daseins primordial
openness, which itself is not symbolic and is not initially an assertion. Lastly,
the adequatio is not simply an agreement between the contents of
consciousness,42 taken to mean disclosure as one content of consciousness
and proposition as another. The implication of this argument would be that
both movements are found as contents of consciousness, and that
establishing a correspondence relation between these contents of
consciousness is a matter a finding a middle term that would further allow
theorists to develop an equivalence relation between these contents. To be
sure, disclosure is only possible for a Being who always already has World,

42 Ibid. P. 261.

41
which implies the ontological a priori of being-in-the-world. As thrown into a
facticity, Dasein is thrown into a temporal ecstatic unity, with signification
already inhabiting the region into which Dasein is thrown; this is external
criteria, and the signification contained therein is ecstatic, which means that
any contents of consciousness are the result of Daseins already being in the
truth, with signification being at least in part by necessity and universally
external, which is to say that not all signification is a content of
consciousness because signification always refers back to being-in-theworld.
The point that Heidegger is making is that what is demonstrated by an
assertion, assuming the assertion does maintain a true correspondence with
states of affairs in the world, is the Being-uncovered [Entdeckt-sein] of the
entity, or that entity in the how of its unhiddenness.43 Truth becomes
phenomenally explicit when the aqeduatio becomes visible as the how of an
entity found within-the-world. The adequatio refers to a how and not merely
a what because disclosure, which is possible only because of the ontological
a priori of always already being-in-the-world, reveals not just the ontical and
the ontological, but also the factical, which is spatial and temporal, and
always contains signification that is ahead-of-itself, grounded in the for-thesake-of-which. Signification that is ahead-of-itself, grounded in the for-thesake-of-which, which is further grounded in being-in-the-world, refers not
merely to what properties we view as ontical predication, but more

43 Ibid. p. 261.

42
primordially to entities we encounter within-the-world as a Being-alongside
equipment that is employed for the for-the-sake-of some possibility of
Dasein. To narrow in on Heideggers meaning here, disclosure reveals the
what and the how equiprimordially, and the what is always already a how
because ontical properties and factical properties are disclosed to Dasein
equiprimordially. To say that an assertion is true, then, or corresponds with
some state of affairs in the world, is to say that the assertion uncovers the
entity as it is in itself, or as Heidegger states, lets the entity be seen in its
uncoverdness.44 If we understand Being-true as Being-uncovered, which is
revealed to Dasein primordially as disclosure, then Being-true is possible only
on the basis of being-in-the-world, and as such, will always refer back to it.
Propositions of the form that-p, which, according to Aristotle, are
derived from basic beliefs, themselves indemonstrable and non-derivative,
correspond to the essence-hood of predication, which is disclosed
primordially as phenomenological for a Dasein. Initially, for disclosure,
Dasein is always already in the truth, and disclosure, or the unhiddenness of
an entity, marks a change in Daseins Being. But asserting a proposition
requires a judgment and has the formal character of a relation, or an
adequatio, between some proposition and the states of the world towards
which that proposition points. Some act of assenting to the judgment is
required at this juncture, even if only as the act of assenting to the formal
character of the adequatio required for a proposition to correspond to some

44 Ibid. p. 261.

43
state of affairs in the world. This does not imply that the truth-relation is
dependent upon the act of assenting to the formal relation of the adequatio;
it instead implies that the judgment required for a proposition to be
considered true is a judgment that considers the third term of adequatio in
terms of how it establishes correspondence between proposition and state of
affairs in the world, a formal relation that can be qualified as better or worse
in terms of its ability to Represent this originary disclosure. Asserting is a
way of Being-towards a Thing within-the-world, and if truth is a
correspondence between a word that points to an object or states of affair,
conceived as a correspondence between word and the essence-hood of
predication, then it will always refer back to the originary disclosure. We can
therefore say that Being-true as Being-uncovering, which is possible only on
the basis of being-inthe-world, begins first as disclosure and then becomes
propositional. But the propositional, insofar as it is considered to be true, is
true on the basis of how it corresponds to states of affairs in the world, which
itself refers back to the primordial uncoveredness of disclosure.
Heidegger discusses the act of or the freedom to formulate truthful
propositions in his 1943 essay On the Essence of Truth in which he begins
by identifying what makes something true, as distinct from articulations of
different kinds of truths (i.e. why is this particular proposition or belief is
true). He once again formulates and offers a conception of truth that is
grounded in the idea of correspondence; he claims: A statement is true if
what it means and says is in accordance with the matter about which the

44
statement is made.45 Classical Correspondence Theory, once again, states
that there is an epistemic subject S that formulates propositions about the
world P that have truth criteria that are external to the epistemic subject C in
states of the world F. But Heidegger is hesitant to make the epistemological
and ontological jump to positing a subject S who voluntarily adopts some
proposition P which linguistically expresses a belief that points to states
of affairs in the world and is characterized as true or false in terms of its

45 Heidegger, M. On the Essence of Truth. P.1

45
correctedness.46 This concept of epistemic voluntarism47 is a precarious idea
because it implies the metaphysical subject who has the metaphysical
predicate of freedom in the formal Kantian sense of being the unconditioned
causality of the cause in appearance,48 which then manifests in the
epistemological act of assenting to some proposition, or possibly to the
adequatio implied in the proposition, which is then characterized in terms of
its correctedness, understood ahistorically and non-spatially. The problem

46 This hesitation likely stems from his deference to his German intellectual
heritage, with figures like Nietzsche, for example, making such claims about
the subject as: The subject is not something given, it is something added
and invented and projected behind what there is. (WP). Also from Will to
Power he states: The subject is the fiction that many similar states in us
are the effect of one substratum: but it is we who first created the similarity
of those states. (WP) In Beyond Good and Evil he states: At bottom of us,
really deep down, there issome granite of spiritual fantum. (BGE) Yet,
conversely, in Thus Spoke Zarathustra he makes the claim that, Behind your
thoughts and feelings, my brother, there is a mighty lord, an unknown sage
it is called self. (Z) With the first three ideas cited here Nietzsche is decrying
the ancient idea, which was reformulated most acutely in Descartes idea of
the Cogito, that there exists a self about which we can have knowledge
perhaps perfect knowledge and that this self is both the uncaused cause in
material conditions, but also that it can serve the function of embracing
propositions in the same uncaused manner. Yet, we see in his Zarathustra
what appears to be a contradiction in that here he does posit the existence
of a self that operates somewhat autonomously in the background of our
thoughts and feelings in that it acts as the witness-bearer and causal
contributor to these thoughts and feelings, but the sense in which Nietzsche
is using the term self in this context is obscure and in need of clarification,
clarification we do not in fact receive. Perhaps by articulating the existential
analytic of Dasein in the manner presented here, and further articulating
Heideggers passive view of epistemic voluntarism, we gain an insight into
Nietzsches intended meaning, but we do so at the expense or perhaps in
the shadow of a German intellectual tradition that in part orients
Heideggers view of the so-called self in relation to his epistemology. This
influence is in no small way apparent in the lines of On the Essence of
Truth. One more Nietzsche reference possible from GM.
47 Modern proponents of voluntarism.
48 Cite Kant here.

46
with this claim, of course, is that it presupposes a non-situated, non-historical
metaphysical subject that formulates propositions about the world from a
spatially detached and historically isolated position, as if what is important in
the proposition is the subjects ability to make these unconditioned, higherorder claims about states of affairs in the world. This predisposition also has
the distinctive character of containing within it the value-laden judgment
that unconditioned, higher-order assenting to propositions is of
distinguishable epistemic worth, and that the anthropocentric act of
unconditioned, higher-order assenting to beliefs formulated as propositions
and then qualified in terms of their correctedness is what gives propositions
their distinguishable epistemic worth as knowledge-claims.
Yet he claims: Truth is not a feature of correct propositions which are
asserted of an object by a human subject and then are valid somewhere,
in what sphere we know not.49 But it is also not the case that he is denying
that ontical depictions of entities are meaningless or vacuous as they point
to states of affairs in the world cross-regionally or temporally. So to
understand how Heidegger conceives of the correspondence relation it is
important to understand in what the correspondence relation consists rather
than simply positing that correspondence implies some epistemic subject S
who voluntarily adopts some proposition P that points to states of affairs in
the world and is characterized as true or false in terms of its correctedness.

49 Ibid. P. 6

47
The being-true of a proposition implies that that proposition accords
with the actual, or states of affairs in the world. Accordance is, as he claims,
the consonance [Einstimmigkeit] of a matter with what is supposed in
advance regarding it and, on the other hand, the accordance of what is
meant in the statement on the matter. Heideggers writing in On the
Essence of Truth and The Essence of Truth, pay little attention to the socalled matter with what is supposed in advance regarding it and focuses
more on the accordance-relation that, as well shown later, has both a res
component and an intellectus component. Because of his refusal to
elaborate on the matters supposed in advance regarding the proposition, we
as readers are left to speculate regarding his actual intended meaning, but it
is safe to assume that he is referring to the ontologico-existential a priori of
Being-in-the-world and the component features contained therein.
Concerning the accordance-relation, however, Heidegger begins with the
medieval dictum veritas est adaequation rei et intellectus, or truth is the
correspondence of knowledge to the matter with which it is concerned, with
specific emphasis on the adequatia intellectus, or the adequation of the
intellect to the thing.50 Propositional truth is possible only on the basis of
material truth [Sachwahrheit], which means that the relation between the
proposition and the material facts of the world, insofar as the proposition has
a truth-component, is a conforming to of the proposition with the material
facts, or to be more specific, a conforming to of the intellect, represented

50 Heidegger, M. On the Essence of Truth. P.3.

48
symbolically, with the material facts of the world, and then characterized in
terms of its correctedness, or conformity of intellect with materiality.
Returning to the question of the so-called matter with what is
supposed in advance regarding it [the proposition], while we may suppose
that Heidegger is here referring to the ontologico-existential aspects of
Being-in-the-World, and all of properties of Dasein this entails, including
historicity and spatiality, we may find that relegating our understanding of
the referent here solely to Being-in-the-World intellectually premature. In his
XXXX essay titled, Schellings Treatise On the Essence of Human Freedom,
Heidegger devotes quite a bit of his energies to explicating Schellings
concept of freedom as it relates to the so-called scientific worldview.
Schellings claim, as Heidegger takes it, is that investigating the concept of
freedom may take one of two forms: first, it may concern itself with a correct
conception of the term, such that the de re of the term freedom as such is
properly situated and understood as entailing any number of properties.
Likewise, these investigations may also take the form of situating the
concept of freedom within a whole scientific worldview. The import of the
insights from Schellings work on freedom in relation to the scientific
worldview that are relevant here are twofold: First, epistemic voluntarism
implies that the epistemic subject Dasein, in this case, understood as
entailing the ontological predicates already detailed here is free to adopt
one proposition that can be assessed in terms of its correspondence with
materiality versus another. So in a similar way to questions of the freedom

49
of the will in relation to action, questions of epistemic freedom, and all the
conditions of the possibility of such a freedom the term entails, become
relevant as well. More importantly for the present thought, however, is the
relation of the concept of freedom to the scientific worldview.
If there is such a thing as freedom, Schelling posits, it must be understood as
a fact, which itself implies that it has essential determinations. Every fact
which has essential determinations can spoken of only in reference to other
facts that also have essential determinations. For example, when discussing
the idea of freedom, we must posit man as both body and some internal
mental or spiritual substance, each of which is itself a reflexively referential
determination, and as such must be understood holistically. Similarly with
the sciences, Schelling speaks of the whole scientific worldview, which
maintains the same reflexively referential structure with philosophy, whereby
the sciences are sciences insofar as they are also philosophy (consider the
necessary assumptions which ground science given to us by ancient and
contemporary philosophers of science like empiricism, repeatability, etc.)
Philosophy acts, as Heidegger states, as the innermost silent force of the
sciences. (FSW 17) To have philosophical knowledge, then, is to have
absolute knowledge of beings, which includes not merely the essential
determinations which can be made present by ontical disclosure, but the
necessary assumptions, given by philosophy, of what qualifies as justifiably
believing something. Heidegger states: A world view is in itself always a
definitely directed and comprehended opening and holding open of the

50
worldto the extent that it is thought monadically. (FSW 18) The idea,
then, that Schelling is eschewing is the idea that to establish the place of the
concept of freedom the freedom to adopt a positive proposition or the
freedom to comport oneself towards ones potentiality-for-being requires
situating this concept within a system of concepts. So therefore, to read into
Heideggers intended meaning regarding how a proposition accords with the
actual in terms of what is supposed in advance regarding it means not
merely the ontologico-existential a priori of Being-in-the-World, but also
situating the proposition within a system of concepts even if negatively, as
a rejection of systems in such a way that the proposition is reflexively
referential with the system of concepts that ground it.
Yet Heidegger is writing in a post-Kantian world in which the objects of
the understanding appear subjectively as phenomena for an epistemic
subject that can presumably never have access to reality as it exists apart
from the subject, or what Kant calls the noumena. Given this, Heidegger
concedes that the accordance relation, or the conformity of intellect with
materiality, must assume both that objects as they appear for Dasein
conform to our knowledge of them and the Christian teleological belief
which amounts to an epistemological leap of faith that that which is as
matter is only as it corresponds to the idea preconceived in the intellectus
divinus, or in the mind of God, which accomplishes the idea of the
understanding in propositions though a correspondence of what is thought to
the matter. Correctness, then, is the consonance of something present-at-

51
hand with the rational concept of its essence, or the idea of the
understanding. This does not imply that the rational concept of the
understanding is divorced from Being-in-the-World or the a priori ontologicoexistential Care (Sorge) structure that conditions every ontical and
ontological claim; rather, it reaffirms the Care structure by reaffirming Dasein
as the bearer and executor of the intellectus, which implies an idea of the
understanding about materiality that can be expressed linguistically as a
proposition. That which is expressed in the assertion is the rational concept
of the essence of the thing about which the proposition makes a claim.
At this point the question of epistemic voluntarism arises in a unique
form. To formulate a propositional claim about the world, and to assess this
propositional claim in terms of its accordance with materiality, one must
have first have accomplished the idea of the being which is present-at-hand
as an object of the understanding in terms of its essential properties
disclosed as ontical predication for a Being that already has World. After
accomplishing the idea of the object in the understanding, a proposition
must be proposed in order to be assessed in terms of its accordance with
materiality if it is to be considered true or false. Yet, surely Dasein can have
an idea of an object in the understanding without having proposed a
proposition using that idea. The question now becomes what is required
from Dasein to move from a being who is in the truth, who is marked by the
truth, to a being that formulates propositions about the materiality that
marked it? Can Dasein refrain from formulating propositions? Is a being that

52
is the unconditioned causality of the cause in appearance required to
formulate propositions? How are we to understand the transition from
Dasein who is in the truth to Dasein who formulates propositions about the
truth?
Heidegger claims: To free oneself for a binding directedness [a truthful
proposition about states of affairs in the world] is possible only by a being
free for what is opened up in an open region.51 He is here once again reconfirming the Aristotelian idea that beliefs formulated as propositions begin
as non-demonstrable and non-derivative, or what contemporary
Foundationalists call basic beliefs, but he is at the same time articulating
the complexity of the formulation of these basic beliefs. Basic beliefs are
now formulated by a being who has World and all of the ontologicoexistential components this presupposes and who projects its possibilities
into the ecstatic unity into which it is thrown. Further, basic beliefs,
formulated as propositional begin as the accomplishment of the idea of a
being which is present-at-hand in the understanding in terms of its essential
properties disclosed as ontical predication for a being that already has World.
But, as Heidegger states, to carry out the act of what he calls presentative
stating52 Dasein must be free with regard to itself.53 Yet this freedom is not
51 Ibid P. 4
52 Ibid P. 4
53 Important to note here is that Heideggers treatment of epistemic
voluntarism in On the Essence of Truth is ambivalent and at times he
equivocates on whether he is referring to Dasein being free in the sense that
it is free as it comports itself toward its potentiality-for-being or whether
Dasein is free with regard to its ability to formulate propositions. Also
important to note is that he fails to make the distinction between being free

53
without limitations. If positive propositional statements presuppose the idea
accomplished in the understanding, which is derived from objects present-athand, understood in terms of their essential properties disclosed as ontical
predication, then propositions have a with-regard-to contained inherently in
their formulation insofar as they are considered to be true. This withregard-to is a with-regard-to the object of the understanding, and as such,
cannot be considered arbitrary if it is a propositional statement that implies
an accordance with materiality.54 It is clear then why Heidegger claims that
this inner possibility of correctedness requires freedom, but not the
freedom of Kants unconditioned causality of the cause; rather Dasein is free
to formulate propositions by embracing the openness given as an inner
possibility of correctedness, or to be more specific, given subjectively as
phenomena. The freedom implied here, which is the freedom of epistemic

to adopt a proposition that can be assessed in terms of its accordance with


materiality and being free to assent to the adequatio of the assertion, which
as well see later, determines the conditions of the possibility of making
truth-claims in terms of what the conditions of linguistic signs are for truthtelling as such. While being free to comport oneself towards ones
potentiality-for-being and being free to assent to a proposition that can be
assessed in terms of its accordance with materiality may be related as in,
the freedom to formulate propositions may be contingently required to
comport oneself towards ones potentiality-for-being or, conversely, the Care
structure may be, and in fact is for Heidegger, an ontologico-existential a
priori for the possibility of formulating assertions there is a relevant modal
distinction. For example, it seems possible for Dasein to comport itself
towards its potentiality-for-being without formulating propositions (contra
Kant). So therefore, freedom with regard to the possibility of formulating
propositions and freedom with regard to comporting oneself towards ones
potentiality-for-being should be analyzed separately, even if there is
constitutional overlap.
54 Not all sentences are truth bearers. Make the distinction. Cite
References.

54
voluntarism, now reveals itself as letting beings be55 or an engagement
with the disclosure of beings. So to formulate a propositional claim that
implies an accordance relation with materiality requires freedom, yet this
freedom is not equivalent to the Wille56, but is instead a passive action
whereby the inner possibility of correctedness, accomplished as an idea of

55 Heidegger, M. On the Essence of Truth. P. 6


56 Kant articulated the concept of the Wille, which he posited as the ground
of autonomy. Autonomy, as he states in the Groundwork is that property by
which the will gives the law to itself. (Groundwork) Elsewhere in the
Groundwork Kant identifies the will as the capacity to act in accordance with
the representation of laws, (Groundwork) which stands in contra-distinction
to an entity constrained by the cause and effect relations operant in the
material world. He variously states that the will gives the rational subject
the ability to determine causality by the representations of rules. (CPR) He
calls these subjective rules, or laws, principles. Principles act as the
determination of the will (CPR) and they must be adopted and then acted
upon as a subjective maxim, or a stateable rule that governs the will in every
instance of autonomy. Subjective maxims are generated as a process of
practical reasoning, or reasoning that contains within it a hypothetical
structure. The hypothetical structure maintains the following form: if A then
B, where A is some action and B is some consequence such that, given A, B
will by necessity follow. A simple example of a subjective maxim is as
follows: if I eat food, I will receive the energy needed to maintain the
metabolic structure of my organism. Yet the motivation to act autonomously,
for Kant, is distinct from the practical principles that govern autonomous
action; it is instead the faculty of desire that is causally responsible for the
motivation to act, whereas the subjective maxim that governs the will is
responsible for orienting the will, in a rule-bound manner, towards the
satisfaction of that desire. The Wille, then, is the faculty of desire in relation
to the ground determining choice in action. Kant distinguishes between the
Wille and the Wilkur by distinguishing between the faculty of desire in
relation to the ground determining choice in action and the faculty of desire
in relation to action itself. The prior has a purely formal structure, whereby
the hypothetical rules that orient the will do so in a manner that is purely
hypothetical, whereas the latter contains an empirical element, and as such,
the hypothetical takes on the character of a situated, contextual act. The
Wilkur is, therefore, the power of choice, or the decision to adopt a given
subjective maxim. An example of the Wilkur is: I am going to the store
because by going to the store I will receive the food needed to maintain the
metabolic structure of my organism.

55
the understanding that becomes symbolic, is qualified in terms of its ability
to (re)present originary disclosure as an already given object of the
understanding.
4. The Development of Heideggers View of Language
With the intention of staying true to Heideggers corpus, the account of this
occurrence, or this transition from disclosure, which is grounded in beingin-the-world, to propositions about the world or directed towards the world,
developed significantly from his earlier writings to his later ones. In BT
VI.44.A, Heidegger indeed points out that the agreement, or the adequatio,
has the formal character of a relation, but hasnt yet given it the character of
a relation between the essence-hood of predication and propositions. 57 His
account of this relation of the adequatio in BT is sustained, if not still to a
large degree diffuse; by sustained, I mean he devotes several rather large
sections to explicating the main tenets of it, but the account of the relation
remains, to a large degree, an account ontologico-existential aspect of the
adeauatio, while ignoring what seems to be what the researcher is after,
namely the ontological aspects of it. I propose that Heideggers development
is a development out of the ontologico-existential and into the ontological
account of the adequatio: or out of the res and into the intellectus. One cant
help but wonder why (in true Heideggarian form) this development took
place. Is it possible that the brilliant writer of Being and Time, bolstered by
all of the vigor youth which is to say nothing of the socio-political scene

57 This comes later. See The Essence of Truth.

56
wrote what he meant to say about this relation but was compelled later to
write an ontological account because of the criticisms of his work called him
to give an account of himself? Historical and otherwise subconscious
speculation aside, allow us to look more closely at how this relation is
conceived in BT so that we may more easily track its development.
As weve already noted and as Heidegger claims in BT VI.44.A a sign
points at what is indicated, and implies this relation, but it is not an
agreement of sign and what is indicated; the sign doesnt correspond to the
Thing towards which it points. But, according to Heidegger, it is also not
pure convention. There is a relation that has a with-regard-to associated
with it.58 In clarifying the truth-relation, then, we must clarify how the
intellectus and the res agree, and what is their essential content. To be more
specific, we must clarify what are the ontologico-existential aspects of the of
the relation and what are the ontological aspects of the relation, with specific
focus on how each constitutes the relationship of adequatio. The relationship
pertains to the connection between the ideal content of judgment and the
Real Thing. As weve already seen, this connection, which as disclosure,
grounded in being-in-the-world, presupposes more than just a relational
totality because being-in-the-world implies signification that is grounded
externally in the temporal ecstatic unity. This relation between the ideal
content of judgment and the Real Thing subsists [besteht] and in factical
judgments judgments about the temporal ecstatic unity (i.e. not purely

58 Heidegger, M. Being and Time. p. 258.

57
formal judgments) is grounded in a relation between ideal entity, or a sign,
and that which is Real, but also present-at-hand. Remember, these are
categorically factical judgments, because formal judgments cant be made
present-at-hand because they supervene on facticity.59 And the Real to
which ideal signs point cannot be entities as they are encountered ready-tohand because entities encountered ready-to-hand are understood preontologically, and propositions of the kind that-p refer explicitly to the ontic
and the ontological. Much of the confusion surrounding Heideggers work is
a testament to this point (a point that Heidegger already understood).
In his existential analytic of Dasein, Heidegger is attempting to develop
a language of Daseins relation to being that is not grounded solely in the
ontological, although he recognizes that propositional sentences that are to
be considered epistemological must refer to the ontological, hence the
condition that the adequatio as a formal relation point towards something
present-at-hand when making factical claims. Heidegger does in fact
confront the epistemological problematic of the subject/object relation here,
but he recognizes that to establish the object as distinct from the subject
epistemological inquiry requires this judgment, and that without it,
epistemological inquiry will be relegated to interpreting the immanent
consciousness of truth, which never leaves the sphere of the subject. 60 But
Dasein is also an encapsulated entity that encounters other entities withinthe-world, meaning that even if truth is grounded in being-in-the-world, and
59 Insert Kants work from the Critique of Pure Reason.
60 Ibid. p. 259.

58
begins as an interpretation of the immanent consciousness of truth, the
distinction between subject and object that epistemological inquiry requires
is applicable both epistemologically and ontologically, even if originary
disclosure presupposes that Dasein is always already in the truth and as such
doesnt require the distinction between subject and object.
Being-true, or truth, means Being-uncovering.61 Disclosure is the
primordial phenomenon of truth and has its basis in the ontologicoexistential uncovering of entities within-in-the-world. Thus, any
epistemological theory and likewise, any linguistic theory has to come
from this basis, so it is not a critique of epistemology but a re-appropriation
of it with ontologico-existential foundations that Heidegger is undertaking
here. Because care is the fundamental ontologico-existential mode of being
for Dasein, entities are encountered as Being-alongisde entities within-theworld for-the-sake-of some end of Dasein. But as Dasein comports itself
towards its potentiality-for-being, encountering equipment as a Beingalongside tools for-the-sake-of some possibility, care discloses both preontologically, as readiness-to-hand, and ontologically, as present-to-hand.
Discourse belongs essentially to disclosure,62 however, which means that the
adequatio of the assertion that-p, must refer back to the components of
disclosure already discussed, and it does so in such a way that language is
implied in the disclosure. It is for this reason that we say that assertion
communicates both the what and the how concurrently, and the
61 Ibid. p. 262.
62 Ibid. p. 266.

59
uncoveredness of disclosure preserves both the what and the how in what is
expressed.63
Heidegger makes an interesting move at this juncture, a move that will
be addressed later: he claims that what is expressed becomes ready-tohand, or capable of being used pre-ontologically, as Dasein comports itself
towards its potentiality-for-being, even though it still maintains its origins in
an adequatio that relates a sign to a Real Thing and the sign points towards
this Real Thing in the world that was disclosed on the foundation of being-inthe-world, which again, has an ontical component, an ontological
component, and a spatial and temporal component. One of the dangers of
propositional knowledge, specifically, derivative propositions, is that the
uncoveredness that is preserved in that which is expressed is in part spatiotemporal, which means that as the ecstatic unity unfolds, propositions,
especially derivative propositions, wane in their ability to express the
originary disclosure. Truth as correspondence suffers as time passes, even if
the attempt to represent this disclosure is presented in the use of tenses.64
Now that the assertion is made, and can be used as ready-to-hand for
Dasein as it comports itself towards its potentiality-for-being, the relation
between the assertion and entities found within-the-world that it uncovers
can be either ready-to-hand which is reflected in Daseins ability to use
63 Ibid. p. 266.
64 Wayne Owens in his article entitled, Heidegger and the Philosophy of
Language, recognizes this point when he claims the following: Moreover,
insofar as all language is historical, the objectification of language itself at
any particular time imposes a stasis in an historically fluid phenomenon.
(54)

60
assertions as it comports itself towards its potentiality-for-being (i.e. go get
that shovel or I told you I was going to the market yesterday) or presentat hand which is reflected in Daseins ability to make propositional
statements that disclose, based on the structure of truth already laid out,
states of affairs in the world as they relate to these entities (i.e. all dogs
have a metabolic structure or there are 5280 feet in a mile). But in each
case here, the judgment required for assertion contains this adequatio which
holds for objects within-the-world, which means that regardless of how they
are used or presented as Dasein comports itself towards its potentiality-forbeing, the relation between word and object is maintained; this is a relation
between word and state of the world that can be made present-at-hand.
This relation has both ontologico-existential components and ontological
components or components of res and intellectus that act as a priori
requirements for the possibility of words corresponding to states of affairs in
the world. Without these a priori requirements, meaning, insofar as it is
symbolic signification with the intent to disclose by pointing to states of
affairs in the world, becomes lost. And again, the res components of the
adequatio refer to truth as Being-uncovering and as a way of Beingtowards states of affairs in the world; these are ontologico-existential
attributes of the adequatio. The components of the intellectus are formal
components, which means they outline the necessary conditions of the
ontological possibility of truth-telling (i.e. that judgment is required to make

61
propositional claims and the formal how of the equivalence relation between
word and object).
What is unique about Heideggers writing in Being and Time is that his
primary focus is on the ontologico-existential aspects of this relation
between word and object, and that the articulation of the ontological aspects
of the relation, or the intellectus of the adequatio, is in some sense left
diffuse. Questions linger that Heidegger hasnt addressed. For example,
what exactly is the epistemic subject making claims about? What are the
ontological conditions of the how of appearance of these entities found
within-the-world? In other words, why do entities appear as such and such
and not as something else? What characteristics of an object lead an
epistemic subject to formulate judgments about an entity that allow the
subject to differentiate one entity from another? Are these purely preontological predicates, grounded in being-in-the-world, that vary with useconditions, or are ontic properties trans-historical predicates that might still
be grounded in being-in-the-world, but are not reducible to regional
conditions for disclosure? Importantly for the present study, however, is: are
these relevant for disclosure? And when making a propositional claim of the
kind that-p, what is being referred to in the correspondence relation? Does
this need to be worked out or is disclosure as unhiddenness, which lets the
entity be seen in its uncoverdness,65 sufficient for what Heidegger is trying
to say? To these questions, we as researchers are left entirely wanting if we

65 Ibid. p. 261.

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refer solely to Heideggers writing in Being and Time to understand the
conditions of the adequatio. More primordially than all of the questions
presented here so far: is more needed and under what conditions is more
needed? Is a more formal articulation of the intellectus of the adequatio
required to sustain the correspondence relation, or is Heideggers account of
the res and the intellectus found in Being and Time itself grounded in
disclosure and the concept of Worldhood sufficient to establish
correspondence? We will for the time leave these questions for future
researchers.

5. Conclusion
Both Aristotle and Heidegger posit the need for first-person experience to
make positive propositional claims of the kind that-p. Aristotle calls
propositional claims that one believes on the basis of this first person
experience basic beliefs. Basic beliefs are beliefs one has in virtue of being
in a particular kind of relation with the world about which one is making a
claim, namely in this case, a direct experience with the reality. A basic belief
is justified on the grounds that it is given indemonstrably and nonderivatively. In other words, I dont reason to this belief; I believe it on the
basis of having the immediate experience of it. Derivative propositions,
however, are beliefs of the kind that-p that are logically implied by basic
beliefs, but not ones that are by necessity given to first person experience. I
may derive the fact that my washing machine is broken if I have the first

63
person experience of seeing a puddle of water on the floor underneath it or
that my toe is broken if I have the first person experience of seeing a great
deal of black and blue marks about it66, but in each case the derivative
proposition is given on the basis of the basic belief, itself required for
knowledge for Aristotle.
Heideggers contention is not that basic beliefs are not epistemically viable
or indeed required as a foundation for knowledge; instead, his criticism of
Aristotles formulation of derivative propositions is that his concept of basic
beliefs is far too narrow and that they fail to consider that a being that is
there for itself always already has World, and that is it thrown into a facticity,
which entails spatiality and temporality, and that each of these components
of Worldhood provide the existential-ontological foundations for the
possibility of disclosure, which itself is the primordial experience of truth
prior to propositional knowledge and in fact is required to make the transition
to propositional knowledge.

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