Heidegger, Davidson, Tugendhat and Truth

Paul Livingston
Heidegger, Davidson, Tugendhat, and Truth



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"In this paper, I consider the relationship of Heidegger‟s theory of truth as aletheia or "unconcealment" to the propositional theories of truth developed within the analytic tradition by Wittgenstein, Tarski, and Davidson. I argue that the classic critique of Heidegger‟s conception of truth developed by Ernst Tugendhat in the 1960s still poses deep and foundational problems for Heidegger‟s account, and that these problems turn largely on the contrast between Heidegger‟s disclosive understanding of truth and the propositional (but non-correspondence) conception characteristic of much of the analytic tradition. In a recent book, Mark Wrathall reconstructs Heidegger‟s theory of truth and argues that it can be seen as paralleling Davidson‟s account of truth in that it identifies social practices as the ultimate foundation of truth; I argue, however, that because of the problems Tugendhat finds in Heidegger‟s account these alleged parallels cannot succeed. In the final section, I consider the possibility of accommodating at least some of what Heidegger says about practices and comportment within a broadly Davidsonian picture and conclude that, although such a picture would necessarily involve important modifications in Heidegger‟s theory of truth, the most important elements of his underlying fundamental-ontological project could nevertheless be preserved."

Department of Philosophy MSC 03 2140 1 University of New Mexico

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