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Hegel and the Greeks
From Conference of the Academy of Sciences at Heidelberg, July 26, 1958
by Martin Heidegger
Internet resource made available by More C
The title of this conference can be transformed into a question: How does Hegel present the philosophy of the Greeks within the horizon of his philosophy? We could respond to such a question by historically studying Hegel's philosophy starting from the present point of view and by such means follow in step Hegel's historical presentation of Greek philosophy. Such a method provides historical research with historical connections. Such a project has its proper justification and utility.
Nevertheless, something other is in play. By stating "the Greeks" we think back to the beginnings of philosophy; by stating "Hegel" we think to its completion. Hegel himself understands philosophy in such a manner.
Within the title "Hegel and the Greeks" it is the whole of philosophy within its history that speaks, and that today in a times in which the collapse of philosophy becomes flagrant; because it has migrated into logistics, psychology, and sociology. These autonomous domains of research assure themselves of increasing importance and polymorphous influence as functional forms and performance instruments in the political-economic world, that is, in an essential sense, of the technical world.
However, this collapse of philosophy, determined from afar and irresistibly, is not without further ado the end of thinking, but rather something else, however withdrawn from public accessibility. What follows will ponder for a while on this in an attempt to bring to mind the matter of thought. The matter of thought comes into play. Matter means here that which, by its nature, the presentation requires. To correspond to such requirement, it is necessary that we let ourselves gaze from out of the matter of thought and prepare for thought , determined by its own matter, to transform itself.
What follows confines itself to show a possibility out of which the matter of thought is discernible. Why then, if the objective is attaining the matter of thought, the detour via Hegel and the Greeks? Because we are in need of this road that surely in its essence is no detour; because only a just experience of the tradition bestows us the present, that, as the matter of thought, presents itself to us and as such comes into play. The authentic tradition consists so little in lugging the load of the past that rather it frees us for that which comes to us and shows us the matter of thought by bearing us in its direction.
Hegel and the Greeks: that sounds like Kant and the Greeks, Leibniz and the Greeks, medieval scholastic philosophy and the Greeks. It sounds so, yet is otherwise. Because Hegel thinks for the first time the philosophy of the Greeks as totality, and that totality philosophically. How is that possible? In that for Hegel history as such is determined in such a manner that it must be fundamentally philosophical. The history of philosophy is for Hegel the inherently united and thereby necessary process of advancement of Spirit toward itself. The history of philosophy is no mere succession of diverse opinions and doctrines that without connection supplant one another.
Hegel states in the introduction to his Berlin course on the history of philosophy: "The history we have before us is the history of the self-discovery of thought" (Lectures on the History of Philosophy, ed Hoffmeister 1940, Bd. I, S. 81, Anm.). "For the history of philosophy only develops philosophy itself" (Hoffmeister a.a.O. S. 235f.). Accordingly, philosophy as the self-development of spirit into absolute knowledge and the history of philosophy are identical. No philosophy prior to Hegel's had acquired such a fundamental grounding of philosophy, enabling and requiring philosophizing itself to simultaneously move within its history and be in this movement philosophy itself. Philosophy however has, following a word of Hegel's taken from the Introduction of his first course here in Heidelberg , as "purpose": "the truth" (Hoffmeister a.a.O. S. 14.).
Philosophy is as its own history, Hegel notes in a marginal comment in the manuscript of this course, the "reign of pure truth - not the activity of outer actualization, but the inner dwelling with self of spirit" (a.a.O. S. 6, Anm.). "The truth" - that means: the truth in its pure realization that at once brings to the truthfulness of truth the presentation of its essence.
Should we now take Hegel's determination of the purpose of philosophy as truth as a clue for reflecting on the matter of thought? Presumably yes: as soon as the theme "Hegel and the Greeks", that means presently philosophy in the totality of its historical destiny and from the viewpoint of its purpose, the truth, is sufficiently clarified.
So we ask first of all: to what extent must the history of philosophy as history be in its fundamental traits philosophical? What does philosophical mean here? What does history mean here?
The answers must presently incur the danger of stating the apparently obvious. However, at no time is the obvious given to thought. Hegel clarifies: " With him (namely with Descartes) we enter into autonomous philosophy proper... Here we can state we are at home and can as a navigator after a long journey in a stormy sea cry out 'Land'; ..." (WW. XV, 328) With this image, Hegel means to state: The "ego cogito sum', this "I think, I am" is the secured base upon which philosophy can establish itself truthfully and thoroughly. With Descartes' philosophy, the ego becomes the measure giving subiectum, that is, that which is deployed beforehand. This subject however will not be taken possession in a proper manner, namely in the Kantian transcendental sense, and fully, in the sense of speculative idealism, until the whole structure and movement of the subjectivity of the subject unfolds and becomes elevated into the absolute knowledge of itself. In so far as the subject knows itself as the knowledge that conditions all objectivity, it is as this knowledge: the absolute itself. Being in its truth is thought thinking itself absolutely. For Hegel, being and thought are the same, and that in the sense that everything is taken in by thought, and by that becomes determined by what Hegel simply names "Der Gedanke".
As the ego cogito, subjectivity is the consciousness that represents something, relates this representation back to itself, and so gathers with itself. To gather is said in Greek, 'legein'. The gathering of the manifold by the I, is expressed by means of 'legesthai'. The thinking I gathers the represented to the extent that it goes through it, transverses it by means of representation. "To transverse through something" is said in Greek: 'dia'. 'Dialegesthai', dialectic, here means, that the subject in the stated process and as such a process, brings itself out: produces itself.
The dialectic is the process of self-production of subjectivity, of the absolute subject, and as such is its "necessary action". According to the structure of subjectivity, the production process has three layers. First of all as consciousness, subjectivity is drawn immediately to its object. This immediate, therefore indeterminate, representation, Hegel names 'being', the universal, the abstract. But the relation of the object to the subject is thereby overlooked. Only through this relating back of objects to the subject, will the object as object for the subject, and the subject for itself, that is, as relation to the object, be represented Nevertheless, as long as we only distinguish between object and subject, refection and being, and remain tied to these distinctions , the movement from object to subject has not yet produced subjectivity as this totality for itself. The object, being, is doubtless already with the subject as mediated by reflection, but this mediation itself is not yet itself the presentation of this innermost movement of the subject for itself. Only when the thesis of object and the antithesis of subject becomes discernible in its necessary synthesis , is the movement of the subjectivity of the object-subject-relation established in its trajectory. This trajectory is departure from the thesis, progression through antithesis, transition as synthesis, and, as this totality , the return of this posited establishment to itself. This trajectory gather the totality of subjectivity in its developed unity. So assembled it grows, 'con-crescit', becomes concrete. Accordingly, dialectic is speculative. 'Speculari' means to discern, to set before, conceive, com-prehend [be-greifen]. Hegel states in the introduction of the 'Science of Logic' (ed. Lasson, Bd. I, S. 38) : Speculation consists "in conceiving the opposed in its unity". Hegel's characterization of speculation becomes clearer when we take note that with speculation the synthesis results not only from conceptual unity, but , in the first place and always, from the conception of 'the opposed', as such. To this belongs the conception of opposites as appearing against and within one another, which as the reign of antithesis is in this manner presented in the "Logic of Essence" ( that is , the logic of reflection). From this self reflecting appearance, this mirroring, the 'speculari' ('speculum': the mirror) receives its sufficient determination. So considered, speculation is the positive totality of what dialectic must signify here: not transcendental delimitation critically or polemically thought, but the mirroring and reuniting of opposites as the spirit's process of self production.
Hegel also names "speculative dialectics" simply "the method". By this appellation he means neither an instrument of representation nor a peculiar procedural mode of philosophy. "The method" is the innermost movement of subjectivity. "the soul of being", the production process through which the fabric of the whole of the absolute's actualization becomes actualized. "The method": "the soul of being" - that sounds bizarre. One may consider our age to have left behind such aberrations of speculation. However we live in the midst of this presumed phantasm.
When modern physics exerts itself to establish the world's formula, what occurs thereby is this: the being of entities has resolved itself into the method of the totally calculable. The first work from Descartes, by which according to Hegel philosophy and thereby modern science arrives at solid land, bears the title: Discourse on Method (1637). The method, that is speculative dialectic is for Hegel the fundamental trait of actuality. The method determines accordingly the movement of all occurrences, i.e. history.
So it's clear from whence the history of philosophy is the inner movement of the course of spirit, that is, of absolute subjectivity, towards itself. The outset, progression, transition, and return of this course are determined as speculative-dialectical.
Hegel says: "In philosophy as such, most currently and recently, is contained what the work from a thousand years has produced; it is the result of all that has preceded it." (Hoffmeister a.a.O.S. 118). In the system of speculative dialectics, philosophy is completed, that is, it attains the highest and thereby its conclusion. One is astonished at Hegel's statement on the completion of philosophy. One considers it presumptuous and descries it as an error that has long since been refuted by history. Because after Hegel's time there has been philosophy, and there still is. But the statement on the completion of philosophy does not say that philosophy is at end in the sense of a cessation and a breaking off. Rather the completion provides precisely for the first time the possibility of diverse transformations even to its simplest expressions: the brutal turnaround and the massive opposition. Marx and Kierkegaard are the greatest Hegelians. They are so despite themselves. The completion of philosophy is not its end, nor does it consist uniquely in the system of speculative idealism. The completion is only as the whole course of the history of philosophy, a course in which its inception belongs just as essentially as its completion: Hegel and the Greeks.
How is the Philosophy of the Greeks, now, determined out of the fundamental traits, speculative and dialectical, of history? In the course of this history, Hegel's metaphysical system is the highest level, that of synthesis. It's preceded by the stage of antithesis that begins with Descartes, because with his philosophy for the first time the subject is posited as subject. By the same token, objects for the first time become representable as objects. The subject-object relation then appears clearly as op-position, as antithesis. In contrast, all of philosophy before Descartes exhausts itself in the mere representation of the objective. Soul and spirit alike are represented like objects, though not as objects. Consequently, according to Hegel, the thinking subject is here already everywhere operative, but not yet conceived as subject, not as one that grounds objectivity. Hegel says in the Lessons on the History of Philosophy: "The man (of the Greek world) is not yet returned into self as in our times. He is certainly a subject, but he has not posited himself as such" (Hoffmeister a.a.O.,S. 144). The antithesis of subject to object is in philosophy before Descartes not the secured base. That stage which precedes antithesis is the level of thesis. With it begins philosophy "proper". The complete unfolding of this beginning is Greek philosophy. This, which the Greeks start and lets philosophy begin, is according to Hegel the pure objective. It is the first "manifestation", Spirit's first emergence, that in which all objects acquiesce. Hegel names it the "universal in general". Because it is not drawn out the subject as such, not yet in this manner determined and arranged conceptually and that means not fully-developed, not concrete, the universal remains the "abstract". "The first production is necessarily the most abstract; it is the simplest, poorest, to which the concrete is opposed." Hegel remarks on this: "and so the oldest philosophy is the poorest." The stage of Greek "consciousness" is "the stage of abstraction". At the same time, Hegel describes "the stage of Greek consciousness" as "the stage of beauty" (WW. XIII, S. 175).
How are these two interrelated? The beautiful and the abstract do not seem identical. They are if we understand the one and the other as Hegel does. The abstract is the first manifestation, demurring purely with itself, the most universal of all entities, being as immediate, simple appearance. Such appearance, however, determines the fundamental trait of the beautiful. This pure self abiding appearance is assuredly also that of spirit, that is, the subject springing forth as the Ideal; but spirit "has not represented itself yet as medium, (and therein) itself, and thereby, founded its world" (a.a.O.)
How Hegel structures and presents, from the viewpoint of the stage of the beautiful, as the stage of abstraction, the history of Greek philosophy, will not be further illustrated here. Instead, we will follow a short indication of Hegel's interpretation of four fundamental words of Greek philosophy. They speak the language of the key word "being", 'einai' ('eon','ousia'). They speak in ensuing western philosophy constantly up to our own times.
In the enumeration as translated by Hegel,, the four fundamental words decree: 1.'En', the whole; 2. 'Logos', reason; 3.'Idea', the concept; 4. 'Energeia', actuality.
'En' is the word of Parmenides.
'Logos' is the word of Heraclitus.
'Idea' is the word of Plato.
'Energia' is the word of Aristotle.
To understand how Hegel interprets these fundamental words we must attend to the following two points: on the one hand, to that which for Hegel is decisive within the interpretation of the aforementioned philosophers in contrast to what he mentions in passing. Secondly, the manner in which Hegel interprets the four fundamental words within the horizon of the key word "being".
In the introduction of his Lectures on The History of Philosophy (Hoffmeister a.a.O., S. 240) Hegel explains: "The first universal is the immediate universal, that is, being. The content, the object is therefore objective thought, the thought of what is." Hegel means: being is the pure state of thought of what is immediately thought, without the reflectiveness of thinking that thinks this thought apart from its notification (Ermittelung). The determination of pure thought is "the indeterminate", its notification is the immediate. So understood, being is the immediate indeterminate representation in general,in such a manner, indeed, that it keeps awy from itself the omission of determination and mediation, as it were, inveighs against them. Out of this, it becomes clear: being as the first simple objectivity of the object is thought starting from its relation to the thinking subject thanks to the pure abstraction of the latter. It is important to note this, first of all, to understand the direction according to which Hegel interprets the four philosophers in question, but likewise to measure the power that Hegel attributes each time to the fundamental words.
Parmenides' fundamental word is 'hen', the one, that which unites all, and so the universal. Parmenides explains 'semanta', the sign, through which 'hen' shows itself, in the great Fragment VIII with which Hegel is acquainted . Nevertheless, Hegel finds the "highest thought" of Parmenides not in 'hen', being as the universal. The "highest thought" according to Hegel is rather ennunciated in the statement:"Being and thought are the same". Hegel interprets this statement namely in the sense: being as "the thought, there is" ("der Gedanke, der ist") is a production of thought. Hegel draws from Parmenides' statement a prefiguration of Descartes, with whose philosphy the determination of being out of the essentially positing subject begins. Accordingly Hegel will explain: "With Parmenides has philosophy proper begun.. This beginning is certainly still nebulous and indeterminate"(WW XIII, S.296f.).
Heraclitus' fundamental word is 'logos', the gathering, that allows the display and appearance of everything that is, the totality of entities. 'Logos' is the name that Heraclitus gives to the being of entities. But Hegel's interpretation does not orient itself strictly from out of the 'logos'. This is peculiar, very peculiar given that Hegel concludes his preface to the interpretation of Heraclitus with the words: "there is not a proposition from Heraclitus that is not contained in my Logic" (a.a.O.S. 328) From the point of Hegel's Logic, the 'logos' is reason in the sense of absolute subjectivity. But the Logic itself is the speculative dialectic by means of which the movement of the immediate universal and the abstract, being as the objective , is reflected in its opposition to the subject. And this reflection is determined as mediation in the sense of becoming, wherein this opposition is returned to itself, made concrete, and brought to unity. To conceive this unity is the essence of speculation that develops as dialectic.
According to Hegel, Heraclitus is the first to recognize the dialectic as a principle, thereby surpassing and advancing beyond Parmenides. Hegel clarifies: "Being, as Parmenides thinks it, is the one, the first; the second is becoming - by this determination, does he (Heraclitus) go further. This is the first concrete, the absolute in which the oppossed are united. With him (Heraclitus) for the first time is the philosophical idea in its speculative form encountered" (a.a.O.S. 328) Hegel thus rests the power of his interpretation of Heraclitus on the statements in which the dialectical, the unity, and the unification of contradictions come to language.
Plato's fundamental word is 'Idea'. For Hegel's interpretation of the the philosophy of Plato, what one must attend to is that he conceives the ideas as "the universal determined in itself". "Determined in itself" means: the ideas are thought in their sameness; they are not merely pure models existing in themselves, but "the existent in and for itself" as distinct from the "sensibly existing" (WW XIV, S.199). "In and for itself" means that which becomes itself, namely com-prehends itself. Accordingly, Hegel can elaborate: the ideas are "not immediately in consciousness (namely as intuitions), but (mediated by consciousness) in cognition". "Therefore one does not posses them, instead they are brought forth by cognition into spirit"(a.a.O.S.169) This bringing forth, production, is the concept as the activity of absolute knowledge, that is "the science". That is why Hegel says: "With Plato begins philosophical science as such." "That which is specific to platonic philosophy is the orientation to the intellectual, supersensible world.." (a.a.O.S. 170)
Aristotle's fundamental word is 'Energeia', which Hegel translates as "Actuality" ["Wirklichkeit"] (in latin, 'actus'). The 'energeia' is , "further determined ", the entelechy ('entelecheia'), which is in itself purpose and realization of purpose." The 'energeia' is "the pure effectivity out of itself". "First of all it is the energy, whose form is the activity, the effectuating, negativity itself related to itself" (a.a.O.S. 321).
Here, 'energeia' is also thought from out of speculative dialectics as the pure activity of the absolute subject. While antithesis negates thesis, and this in turn is negated by sysnthesis, there prevails in such negation what Hegel calls "negativity itself related to itself". This is nothing negative. The negation of negation is rather that position within which spirit through its own activity posits itself as the absolute. Hegel sees in Aristotle's 'energeia' a preliminary stage of the absolute self movement of spirit, that is of actuality in and for itself. Hegel shows in the following statement how he appraises the whole of aristotelian philosophy: "If philosophy is taken seriously, nothing is worthier than the study of Aristotle" (a.a.O.S. 314).
Philosophy becomes "serious" according to Hegel when it no longer loses itself in the object and its subjective reflection, but concerns itself with the activity of absolute knowledge.
The elucidation of the four fundamental words allows the clarification: Hegel understands 'en', 'logos', 'idea', 'energeia' within the horizon of being, which he comprehends as abstract universality. Being and thus what is represented in the four fundamental words is not yet determined nor yet mediated by and in the dialectical movement of absolute subjectivity. Greek philosophy is the stage of this "not yet". It is not yet the completion, nevertheless it is only comprehended from out of this completion, as the system of speculative idealism.
It is according to Hegel the innermost "drive", "the need" of spirit, to deliver itself from abstraction, in absolving itself in the concrete of absolute subjectivity and so to free itself to its own self. Thus Hegel can say: "philosophy is the opposition to the abstract; it is nothing but the campaign against abstraction, the constant war with the reflective understanding" (Hoffmeister a.a.O.S.113). In the Greek world, for the first time, spirit comes to a free encounter with being. But spirit comes not yet properly as the self knowing subject to absolute certainty of itself. Only when this first occurs in the system of speculative dialectical metaphysics, does philosophy become what it is: "the innermost sanctuary of spirit itself" (a.a.O.S. 125).
Hegel determines the "purpose" of philosophy to be: "the truth". This becomes attained only at the stage of completion. The stage of Greek philosophy remains in the "not yet". As the stage of the beautiful, it is not yet the level of truth.
Here we become thoughtful - when we traverse the whole of the history of philosophy, "Hegel and the Greeks", the completion and the beginning of this history - and ask: does not 'aletheia', the truth, stand at the beginning of the paths of philosophy with Parmenides? Why does Hegel not bring this to language? Does he understand by "truth" something other than unconcealedness? Certainly. Truth is for Hegel the absolute certainty of the self knowing absolute subject. But with his interpretation, the subject does not yet appear as subject for the Greeks. Accordingly 'aletheia' cannot be the determination of truth in the sense of certainty.
Such is the case with Hegel. However, if 'aletheia', concealed and unthought as ever, prevails over the beginning of Greek philosophy, must we not ask: is not certainty in its essence dependent on 'aletheia', supposing that we do not interpret this imprecisely and arbitrarily as truth in the sense of certainty, but think it as disclosedness? If in this manner we dare to think this, the 'aletheia', then two matters come before us to consider: By no means is the experience of 'aletheia' as unconcealedness and disclosedness based on the arbitrary etymology of a word , but rather on the matter of thought put into question here, to which Hegel's philosophy cannot be totally withdrawn. If Hegel describes being as the first emergence and manifestation of spirit, then it remains to be considered if in this emergence and self display, disclosedness [R&AW1]must not already be here in play, no less than the pure appearance of the beautiful, by which Hegel describes the level attained by Greek "consciousness". And if Hegel lets the fundamental position of his system culminate in the absolute idea, in the complete self display of spirit, then it becomes compelling to ask if in this appearing, that is, in the phenomenology of spirit and hence in absolute self knowledge and its certainty disclosedness must not already be in play. Moreover, we are presented with the wider question, if disclosedness has its place in spirit as the absolute subject, or if disclosedness itself is the place and shows the place wherein the like of a representing subject can first "be" what it is.
Accordingly we are detained by something else that is worth considering insofar as 'aletheia' comes to language as disclosedness. What this word names is not a passe-partout that unlocks all the enigmas of thought, instead 'aletheia' is the enigma itself - the matter of thought.
However, it is not us that establishes this matter as the matter thought. To us it has long addressed itself and been transmitted by the whole history of philosophy. It is only a matter of becoming attentive to the tradition and therein to attest to the pre-judgments [Vor-Urteile], in which each thought, in its own manner, abides. Of course, such examination can never conduct itself as a tribunal that directly decides the essence of, or the possible relations to, history; because this examination has its limit, which can be described as follows: the more thoughtful, and that means the more responsive to its language, the more decisive for it is the unthought, and , even , the unthinkable.
Because Hegel interprets being speculative-dialectically [spekulativ-dialektisch] from the vantage of absolute subjectivity as the indeterminate immediate, the abstract universal, and explains from this perspective of modern philosophy the Greek fundamental words for being, 'En', 'Logos', 'Idea', 'Energeia', we are tempted to judge that interpretation as incorrect.
But every historical statement and legitimization itself moves within a certain relation to history. Prior to a decision as to the historical correctness of the representation it is therefore necessary to consider if and how history is experienced, from whence does it determine its fundamental traits.
With regards to Hegel and the Greeks this means: all correct or incorrect historical statements presuppose that Hegel has experienced the essence of history out of the essence of being in the sense of absolute subjectivity. There is at this hour no experience of history that can, philosophically speaking, historically correspond to it. However, the speculative-dialectical determination of history brings with as consequence that it prohibits Hegel from regarding 'Aletheia' and its prevalence as the proper matter of thought, and this, precisely, in that philosophy that determines the "reign of truth" as the "purpose" of philosophy. Because Hegel experiences being, when he conceives it as the indeterminate immediate, as the determining and comprehending subject's posited. Consequently, he cannot disassociate being in the Greek sense, the 'einai', from its relation to the subject, and release it to its proper essence. This latter however is pre-sence [An-wesen], that which out of concealedness abides [vor-Wahren] in disclosedness. In pre-sence the unconcealed plays. It plays within 'en' and within 'logos', within the properly gathered bestowment [Vorliegen] - that which lets truth be [An-wahren-lassen]. 'Aletheia' plays within the 'idea' and within the 'choinomia' of the ideas, insofar as these mutually bring to appearance and so compose the existent being, the 'ontos on'. 'Aletheia' plays within 'Energeia' which has nothing in common with actuality, but only with the Greek experience of 'ergon' and its manner of being produced before us within pre-sence.
However, 'Aletheia', unconcealedness plays not only within the fundamental words of Greek thought, it plays within the totality of Greek language, which appears to speak otherwise, so long as we do not put out of play its Latin, Medieval, and Modern representation, and view the Greek world in terms of either personalism or consciousness.
However how is it with this enigmatic 'Aletheia' itself, that for the interpreter of the Greek world is an outrage, as long as one halts at this isolated word and its etymology, instead of reflecting on it out of the matter of thought, as given in disclosedness and unconcealedness? Is 'Aletheia' the same as being, that is, pre-sence? That with Aristotle 'ta onta', the existent, the present, means the same as 'ta aletheia', the disclosed, speaks in it favor. Yet how do disclosedness and presenceness, 'aletheia' and 'ousia' belong together.? Are both of the same essential rank? Or is presenceness referred back to disclosedness, but not, inversely, the latter to the former? Then, being would have everything to do with disclosedness, but not disclosedness with being. Moreover: if the essence of truth, valued as correctness and certainty , can only exist in the realm of disclosedness, then truth has everything to with 'Aletheia', but not this with truth.
Wherein belongs 'Aletheia' itself, when it is unbound from references to truth and being and must be set free to what is proper to it? Has thinking already the realm's vision, if only to conjecture, what takes place in unconcealment, precisely within the concealment that disposes of all unconcealed?
The enigma of 'Aletheia' comes closer to us, but, simultaneously , the danger, that we are hypothesizing it as a fantastic world essence.
We have already remarked variously that an undisclosedness in itself cannot be given. Instead, undisclosedness is undisclosedness for "each one". Thus it would be unavoidably "subjective".
Accordingly, must the human, as considered here, be determined necessarily as subject? Does "for mankind" mean without qualification: posited through mankind? We must deny both and recall that although 'aletheia', understood in the Greek manner, prevails for mankind, the human remains determined through 'logos'. The human is the saying one. To say, in high German 'sagan', means: to show, to let appear and be seen. The human is the essence, that lets the said of the presented in its presenceness be bestowed and attends to the bestowal [Vorliegen]. The human speaks only insofar as being the one that says.
The oldest testimony for 'alethein' and 'alethes', disclosedness and disclosed, we find with Homer and, indeed, in connection with the verbs of saying. One has cursorily concluded that: thus disclosedness is "derived" from the verb 'dicendi'. What does "derived" mean her, when saying is the letting be of appearance and also is that which disguises and conceals? It is not disclosedness that "derives" from saying, rather every saying belongs [braucht] already in the realm of disclosedness. Only where this already prevails can something statable, visible, demonstrable, perceivable come forth. When we hold in view the enigmatic prevalence of 'Aletheia', the unconcealed, we are lead to the conjecture that even the whole essence of language reposes in the un-concealed, in the prevalence of 'Aletheia'. However talk of prevalence remains makeshift if its mode of play receives its determination otherwise than from out of the unconcealed itself, that is from the clearance of the self concealed.
"Hegel and the Greeks" - meanwhile we have apparently explained foreign matters , far removed from our theme. Nevertheless we are closer to our theme than before. In the introduction to the lecture it was said:The matter of thought comes into play. By means of its theme, it attempts to bring this matter into view.
Hegel determine the philosophy of the Greeks as the beginning of "philosophy proper". Notwithstanding, it remains as the level of the thesis and abstraction in the "not yet". The completion in the antithesis and synthesis remains outstanding.
The reflection on Hegel's interpretation of the Greek doctrine on being attempted to show, that the "being" wherein philosophy begins, only emerges as presenceness insofar as 'Aletheia' prevails, that "Aletheia' itself nevertheless as regards its essential origin remains unthought.
Thus, have we experienced , in view of 'Aletheia', that with it our thinking is called to correspond to something which from before the beginning of "philosophy" and through the whole course of its history, has already drawn thought to itself. 'Aletheia' is the historical course of philosophy anticipated, but in such a way that it withholds itself from philosophical determination, as that which requires thoughtful consideration [Erorterung]. Thus 'Aletheia' remains for us the worthiest of thought - of thought delivered from the metaphysically conveyed retrospective view of the representation of "truth" in the sense of correctness and "being" in the sense of actuality.
Hegel says of Greek philosophy: "Only to a certain degree is satisfaction to be found there", namely the satisfaction of the drive of spirit to absolute knowledge. This estimation of Hegel concerning what is unsatisfactory about Greek philosophy is spoken out of the completion of philosophy. In the historical course of speculative idealism, Greek philosophy remains in the "not yet" of its completion.
However, if we attend to the enigmatic of 'Aletheia', that hovers over the beggining of Greek philosophy as well as over the course of the whole of philosophy, then Greek philosophy likewise appears in a "not yet". Only, this is the "not yet" of the unthought, not at all the "not yet" of the unsatisfying, but rather the "not yet" to which we are not sufficient and never have been.