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The False Which is Also True

Whenever we argue against a position and show that it is wrong it also has something true about it. It’s not just annihilated. It is helping us. It is another way of looking at things or another way of things revealing themselves.   And that makes sense because if two things are going to be opposed they have a lot in common – North can be the opposite of South because they are both directions – it can’t be the opposite of broccoli.  In fact the word “contradiction” – to speak against – shows us that, because it contains the word “against”, which has a double meaning.  “Against” means both against as in a fight — Germany fought against the US – and against as in touching – the board was up against the fence. As Heidegger writes in The Parmenides Lecture: “How else could an opposition hold sway here unless they both shared, though in a concealed way, the same essential dimension?” [47-8]

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One thought on “The False Which is Also True

  1. Perhaps because I was already thinking, albeit vaguely, of keys (to), it is interesting to ponder on how Heidegger carries on with the text you quoted:

    “The Roman word for “the true” “ver”, has the root meaning of closing-covering and locking up, a meaning which was, to be sure, obliterated, or at least never expressly and purely liberated. The opposite to “ver”, “verum”, as the enclosing, is the non-enclosing. This “opposes” the verum. “Opposing,” acting against, is expressed in Latin by the prefix op-‘, to be “against” the enclosing, against the “ver”, is op-verio or ap-verio, whence the Latin aperio: “I open”. The main sense of opening, understood in the Roman way, is “non-enclosing.”

    Or just oversimplified for my own understanding:
    True = closing-covering Untrue = non-enclosing

    (The German version, as I haven’t checked the accuracy of the translation: “Das römische Wort für »das Wahre«, »ver«, hat die allerdings verschüttete oder nie eigens und rein freigewordene Grundbedeutung des zuschließenden Deckens, Abschließens. Der Gegensatz zum »ver-«, »verum« als dem Verschließenden ist das Nicht-Verschließen. Dieses »opponiert« gegen das verum. Das »Opponierende«, Entgegenhandelnde wird im Römischen ausgedrückt durch die Vorsilbe op-; »gegen« das Verschließen, gegen das »ver« sein heißt op-verio oder ap-verio, lateinisch aperio, d. h. ich öffne. Die Leitbedeutung des römisch verstandenen Offnens ist aber das »Nichtverschließen»”.)

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