Being and Truth

Being and Truth

Being and Truth

Being and Truth

Synopsis

In these lectures, delivered in 1933-1934 while he was Rector of the University of Freiburg and an active supporter of the National Socialist regime, Martin Heidegger addresses the history of metaphysics and the notion of truth from Heraclitus to Hegel. First published in German in 2001, these two lecture courses offer a sustained encounter with Heidegger's thinking during a period when he attempted to give expression to his highest ambitions for a philosophy engaged with politics and the world. While the lectures are strongly nationalistic and celebrate the revolutionary spirit of the time, they also attack theories of racial supremacy in an attempt to stake out a distinctively Heideggerian understanding of what it means to be a people. This careful translation offers valuable insight into Heidegger's views on language, truth, animality, and life, as well as his political thought and activity.

Excerpt

Translators owe a double debt. To their sources, they owe fidelity. To their readers, they owe an explanation. Translators are intermediaries, and their work succeeds only if it can be trusted not to misdirect what they have been entrusted to convey. That responsibility is particularly pressing with a text such as Martin Heidegger’s Being and Truth.

While Heidegger’s language in Being and Truth is not as idiosyncratic as in his works of just a few years later (in particular, in the 1936–1938 Contributions to Philosophy), this text is challenging because of the diversity of its sources. Heidegger originally delivered the texts in this volume as a pair of lecture courses in 1933–1934, and as Hartmut Tietjen explains in his afterword, we have a variety of sources for what Heidegger actually presented: his own partial manuscript, his notes, and student transcripts. What this means is that the resulting text displays a wide range of styles: carefully prepared lectures that read like a book manuscript; transcriptions of what appears to be Heidegger’s more relaxed and sometimes loose delivery during the lectures themselves; and aphoristic, even cryptic passages that often only sketch out a train of thought. The reader should be prepared for sudden alterations in style.

In discharging our debt to the author, we have attempted to be as faithful as possible to the German by following a few simple principles. As far as we can, we have endeavored to provide consistent renderings into English of Heidegger’s terminology so that the reader may follow his usages as closely as possible. Because there is not always a one-toone mapping of words and idioms from one language to another, truly literal translation is impossible, so the reader who wishes to pursue some of the complexities and connotations of Heidegger’s vocabulary should consult the German–English glossary at the back of the volume. Heidegger’s style is often very precise and carefully constructed; we have tried to reproduce this quality, even when a looser rendering in English might seem more elegant. But where Heidegger’s style is more informal, we have tried to capture the mood of the text with corresponding English idioms, so long as we could maintain fidelity to his . . .

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