e-Research: A Journal of Undergraduate Work


Collin Pointon


The words of Martin Heidegger are no example of the lowest form of wit. His sentence is meant to be interpreted in two important ways that utilize different meanings of the word "truth." Our common understanding of the word truth is not something innate but a product of history and culture that stretches back through the Romans to the ancient Greeks. Alētheia in ancient Greek was translated to veritas in Latin. The translation included an interpretation--as all translations do (which is why translation is rhetorical in nature)--of alētheia as a Platonic entity. Alētheia was interpreted as something transcendent; something that remains constant no matter what culture, language, time, class, gender, race, etc., one comes from. Alētheia/veritas/truth is "out there" somewhere and we just need to find it. We often think of truth in this way. It's at the heart of phrases like "the moral of the story is," or "the author's message is," or "what the novel is really about is,"--as if we fully know the author's intent and that the text contains one absolute "point."



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