Aletheia (ἀλήθεια) is the Greek word for "truth", and like the English word implies sincerity as well as factuality or reality. The literal meaning of the word λήθεια is, "the state of not being hidden; the state of being evident".

Heidegger and aletheia Edit


It is a significant concept in the study of philosophy and epistemology because defining truth as aletheia, instead of as correspondence or coherence, represents a clear departure from nearly every philosophical tradition since the Ancient period.[citation needed]

In the early to mid 20th-century, Martin Heidegger resurrected aletheia and developed the notion into the form recognized today; a renewed attempt to understand Truth. Heidegger gave an etymological analysis of the term, and drew out an understanding of aletheia as 'disclosedness'; cf. lethe as forgetfulness.

Thus, aletheia is distinct from the more well-known conceptions of truth as statements which accurately describe a state of affairs (correspondence), or statements which fit properly into a system taken as a whole (coherence). Instead, Heidegger focused on the elucidation of a meaning of truth that is pre-Socratic.

Chiefly, then, aletheia is the truth that first appears when something is seen or revealed. It is to take out of hiddenness to uncover. It is not something that is connected with that which appears. Allowing something to appear is then the first act of truth; for example, one must give attention to something before it can be a candidate for any further understanding, for any understanding of space it must first somehow appear. Untruth, then, is something concealed or disguised.

Further reading Edit

Heidegger began his discourse on the reappropriation of aletheia in his magnum opus, Being and Time, and expanded on the concept in his Introduction to Metaphysics. For more on his understanding of truth, see Poetry, Language, and Thought, in particular the essay entitled "The Origin of the Work of Art," which describes the value of the work of art as a means to open a clearing, or a truth set to the work.[1]


  1. Heidegger, M. "Being and Time". Translated by Joan Stambaugh, Albany, State University of New York Press, 1996. (1927)

2. Babette E. Babich, “From Van Gogh’s Museum to the Temple at Bassae: Heidegger’s Truth of Art and Schapiro’s Art History.” Culture, Theory & Critique. 44/2 (2003): 151-169

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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