Otar Tchulukhadze  [1]

Abstract. The aim of this essay is to discuss the views of Martin Heidegger and Friedrich Nietzsche on the truth. After a textual consideration of their reflections on truth, the possible ways of their synthesis are outlined. A number of aspects are highlighted in the field of theoretical intersection of two philosophies – the insufficiency of the genealogical method in considering the question of truth; the necessity for truth to assume the form of value; similarities between existential priorities of Heidegger and Nietzsche; comprehensiveness of A-letheia, truth as unconcealment, in light of Will to Power and Nietzschean perspectivism.

Key words: Truth, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Perspectivism, Will to Power, Unconcealment.


The Nietzsche’s Perspective

Nietzsche is often regarded as an antagonist of the idea of truth. Moreover, this opinion occurs against the fact that the “truth” itself is taken for granted, for something that we all seem to know well, to which we are favorable, and whose denial raises some doubts, and at least, at first glance, appears to be an extravagant opinion.

In Nietzsche’s works, we certainly find passages that allow such superficial interpretations: his assertion that there are no facts but only interpretations;[2] his reasoning for the non-existence of the true world.[3] These views, of course, proliferate superstitions about Nietzsche’s “anti-true” teachings. However, Nietzsche’s understanding of truth is not so easy to grasp, for the seemingly understandable term “truth” itself contains many hidden psychological, cultural, existential, and ontological layers and relations. Disclosing, understanding, and reinterpreting them was the goal and merit of Nietzsche’s philosophy.

Yet what distinguishes Nietzsche’s doctrine of truth? Does Nietzsche fully reject the truth? What is the understanding of the truth that he assails? What does Nietzsche establish in place of it? — These are the driving questions that can help us to structure Nietzsche’s teachings about truth.

First, Nietzsche attacks the traditional understanding of truth and its main fulcrums – the ideas of self-sufficiency and transcendence. For Nietzsche, “truth” cannot be self-evident; it is inseparable from a power perspective. Here, obviously, one should not think that Nietzsche did not recognize such immutable, “mathematical” truths, like “7 + 5 = 12”.[4] Nietzsche just considered them to be, as it were, “harmless” truths. He is interested in evaluative truth/falsehood, which is existentially significant and tries to answer questions about human life, meaning, suffering, becoming and power. That is the first sign that distinguishes Nietzsche’s approach to truth. He delineates the field of truths that are existentially important. He is less interested in “harmless truths” as such, and turns his creative energies to the realm of evaluative truths and errors, as well as factors underlying them.

Definitely, with this shift, the clarity that could be attained in mathematics or natural sciences is lost. However, Nietzsche wonders why Western culture has prioritized scientific, “objective” truths. Nietzsche sees the decadent instinct in such a preference. For him, the symptom of the loss of vitality, of power, is to be traced in striving for objectivity. In this yearning, subjective, assertive will is stifled and it starts to long for peace and security. In the same context, the transcendence of “true world” is unacceptable for Nietzsche — this view is declared as a symptom of “fear of becoming”.[5]

The pursuit of truth is not a self-evident and unquestionable process for Nietzsche. Truth — whether evaluative, mathematical, or natural — is of a moral nature for Nietzsche and necessarily linked to certain impulses. The tendency for such a symptomatic understanding of the issue can already be observed in early period of Nietzsche’s philosophical development. For instance, in his essay Schopenhauer as Educator Nietzsche considers the decisive impulses and urges that mold the product of the modernity — the scientists.[6] In doing so, Nietzsche is ostensibly fighting against the idea of objective truth. The leading aspect of striving for the truth is bio-evolutionary: According to Nietzsche, for example, truth imbues us with a sense of security. It is noteworthy that in the “period of maturity” of Nietzsche’s philosophy, from about the 1880s onwards, security as the motive of truth had been gradually replaced by the notions of the will to power as the main motive of will to truth.[7]

Nietzsche critically refers to the pursuit of truth that has been decimated by previous, decadent moralistic impulses. Therefore, it is logical that decadent instincts lead to “decadent truths”. Instead, Nietzsche offers a different project of truth. In addition to the symptomatic algorithm, he tries to refute the traditional understanding of truth with an argument based on the principle of becoming. The main point of this argument is that since both the “subject” and the “object” are present in becoming, it is impossible to grasp the “solid” truths. For example, in the second century, one could say: “Rome is the strongest empire”; however, in the twenty-first century, such proposition no longer holds true.

Again, Nietzsche understands the immutability of mathematical and natural truths. However, for him, it is insignificant to focus on such truths. In his “positivist period” (approx. 1876–1882), Nietzsche may indeed favored the scientific approach, but, apart from this phase, his philosophy was permeated with the critical attitude towards the objective truths. Accordingly, Nietzsche prefers the search for truths that are related not to immutable facts or a priori principles, but to those that are of higher existential importance (death, life, power, courage). To Nietzsche, qualitative reasoning takes existential and cognitive precedence over quantitative one.

Nietzsche rejects old moralism because the later regarded truth and falsehood as strictly opposing each other. The reason for this dichotomy, produced by ancient (Socratic, Platonic, Christian) morality, was a nihilistic, life-threatening synthesis of formal logic and morality. For Nietzsche, we must not fully do away with falsity. Due to the perspectivist nature of his philosophy, falsity appears not in the context of morality or formal logic, but in terms of use and abuse for life.

Logically, the question arises: Is Nietzsche a relativist? His philosophy answers this question negatively: he is not a relativist but a perspectivist. For him, the will to power is the main backbone of evaluative reasoning. He believes that the main thing in the evaluative propositions is to what extent is life strengthened or denied, and what is revealed in them, strength or weakness. Nor is Nietzsche a skeptic: he admits the existence of truths, both immutable (which he does not endorse) and perspectivist (stipulated by will to power).

Nietzsche’s project of truth is related to the will to power, perspectivism, and most importantly, it implies the need to accumulate perspectives and compare them when conducting reasoning. More perspective means better vision. It seems true to cross-examine more subjective perspectives, but that does not mean dissipated pluralism and chaos. Nietzsche is against them.

Nietzsche does not try to deny the truth completely but seeks to establish a new type of truth. This is indicated by the fact that he speaks about the truth in a positive context.


“[T]he knowledge of truth would remain as the only tremendous goal
commensurate with such a sacrifice,
because for it no sacrifice is too great.”[8] [9]


For sure, truth is not given an unequivocal advantage over falsehood, but the transformative, important existential function of truth is underlined. Zarathustra epitomizes this new kind of truth. He is a herald of this new truth.

This attitude of Nietzsche reveals that he does not “deny” the truth and that for him it is inevitably connected with healthy instincts.


“To this day the task of incorporating knowledge
and making it instinctive is only beginning
to Dawn on the human eye
and is not yet clearly discernible;
it is a task — that is seen only by those who have comprehended
that so far we have incorporated only our errors
and that all our consciousness relates to errors.”[10]


In discussing truth, Nietzsche holds important how much truth can one person endure[11] and brings “new” values to the fore. The new truths — eternal recurrence, irreversibility of time, will to power — are in a way burden for the most part of humanity. Thus, Nietzsche’s early, more pragmatic stance changes in his ‘mature period’.


“Something could be true even if it is harmful and dangerous to the highest degree.
It could even be part of the fundamental character of existence
that people with complete knowledge get destroyed, —
so that the strength of a spirit would be proportionate
to how much of the “truth” he could withstand.”[12]


Among these values, honesty[13] and courage are especially stressed. As Richardson correctly points out,[14] honesty is an openness towards oneself and not necessarily towards others. This passage definitely links Nietzsche’s philosophy to Heideggerian understanding of the self. This link will be elaborated in the following section.

In his last book Ecce Homo, Nietzsche equates error with cowardice.[15] These two should lead us to the truths that were concealed in the previous project of truths — namely, to the innocence of becoming and to the eternal return of the same. This implies honesty with oneself; seeing one’s pluralistic impulses appropriately; daring to recognize the laws of becoming and life/death; not constructing parallel “true world”; not promoting mathematical truths. It is worth noting that Nietzsche’s pathos and line of reasoning underline important, often unrecognized, component: There are eternal truths or, to use more contemporary metaphor, constants of the initial programming code of the universe, which were very seldom or only partially grasped by previous Platonic-Christian truth project. Among them, the eternal return of the same and the will to power are in front line.

In new project of Nietzsche, art plays a vital role. It is as it were a vaccine against the old, decadent trends of religion, philosophy and morality.[16] For him, art fosters us to endure the bitterness of existence.[17] Art is a bearer of a new type of truth that has to enliven existence and make it bearable.[18] It is, as it were, opposite of the theoretical optimism which has become part and parcel of western culture. This theoretical optimism — which for Nietzsche traces back to Socrates — underscored the tragic nature of existence. This very theoretical optimism can be reckoned as a latent basis for all sorts of utopia, which tend to believe that social change can be an alleviation of the burden of existence. Nietzsche attributes the demise of Hellenic culture to the decline of the tragic soul, which was gradually being replaced by Socratic theoretical optimism. This, in its turn, intends not only to explain in the mind but also to solve the problem of existence. Of course, not everything that can be typified as art shares truths for Nietzsche. He clearly discerns true art from more ‘mass-oriented’ arts. Later, Nietzsche develops the view that art is a will to power.

To Nietzsche, truth is a type of illusion that has bio-evolutionary significance. That it has such a role is illustrated by Nietzsche’s conception, in which man is marked as the generator of metaphors. Nietzsche presents the path impulse >> metaphor >> concept.[19] By doing so, he emphasizes the physiological beginnings and props of truth forgotten by Western tradition.[20] He also emphasizes the historical development of the “the organ of knowledge”:


“The utility of preservation, not some abstract-theoretical need not
to be deceived, stands as the motive behind the development
of the organs of knowledge.”[21]


Nietzsche even asks[22] whether his philosophy itself is “only” interpretation. In contrast to his hints, we exclude the possibility of even hypothetically acknowledging this. Heidegger’s understanding of truth, which will be discussed below, will help us to expand our view. Until then, let us summarize Nietzsche’s visions on the truth.

Anti-Platonist Nietzsche exposes and rejects the old project of the truth. In it, Nietzsche disclaims the pursuit of objectivity and disinterest. He instead offers a new project of truth — perspectivism, which has no claim to certainty but seeks to strengthen and invigorate reasoning by the will of power. Throughout his development, Nietzsche does not deny the role of truth in his project, and both pragmatic and supra-pragmatic significance of it, although he does not forget the role of falsehood and illusion. He believes that in the previous project of truth, truth was associated with certain values, impulses that were decadent, harmful to life. In contrast to such values and impulses, Nietzsche associates truth with the courage and honesty that lead a person to such truths which were neglected by the previous project of truth — the power-driven nature of the universe, becoming, changeability, and the eternal return of the same. By using his method, Nietzsche proves (albeit implicitly) that he is a metaphysician. He also seeks the truth about the essence and succeeds in finding eternally unchangeable principles that differ from the principle prioritized by previous (Platonic-Christian) project.

Nietzsche’s view[23] that man reaches his highest truth distanced from the crowd, gets closer to Heidegger’s understanding of openness of existence about truth. Nietzsche, like Heidegger, approaches non-pragmatic existential truth and establishes a gradation. With this, his philosophy connects itself to the authentic mode of existing, theorized by Heidegger. Nietzsche’s philosophy latently asserts a priori-existential structures Heidegger speaks of in his Being and Time.

To illustrate the field of intersection of two philosophical systems in the context of truth, Heidegger’s views on truth must also be outlined.


Heidegger’s Perspective

Martin Heidegger, in his revision of western philosophy, endeavors to reconsider one of its key understandings — the truth. The revision is highly critical. According to Heidegger,[24] no headway has been made with the problem of truth for two millennia. Heidegger opposes not only the correspondence theory of truth, but also the entire tradition of understanding of truth, which, according to him[25]), is based on three main propositions:

  1. The “place” of truth is reasoning;
  2. The essence of truth lies in the “coincidence” of reasoning with its subject (correspondence theory of truth);
  3. Aristotle is responsible for these two.

Heidegger tries to refute these theses. Instead of considering truth and untruth as a place of reason, he seeks to show their fundamental-ontological basis. For Heidegger, truth is in a primordial connection to being,[26] whilst the truth/falsehood of this or that statement stems from the fact that we are already as it were embedded in an open ontological field, which is the truth. True or false propositions are a kind of derivatives of this field — they crop up within this field.

The originality of Heidegger’s understanding of truth does not end here. He also believes that the most authentic truth is the authentic state of existence, and that untruth must be sought in its inauthentic mode. He transfers the terms truth/untruth from the realm of logic to the fundamental-ontological domain:


“[U]ncoveredness of entities within-the-world is grounded
in the world’s disclosedness. But disclosedness is that basic character of Dasein
according to which it is its “there”. Disclosedness is constituted
by state-of-mind, understanding, and discourse, and pertains
equiprimordially to the world, to Being-in, and to the Self”.
In its very structure, care is ahead of itself —
Being already in a world — as Being alongside entities
within-the-world; and in this structure
the disclosedness of Dasein lies hidden.
With and through it is uncoveredness;
hence only with Dasein’s disclosedness
is the most primordial phenomenon of truth attained.”[27]


For Heidegger, the uniqueness of openness is the truth of existence, which is suppressed by the closure of Das Man (a faceless man of conformity). Therefore, Heidegger believes[28] that Dasein (being-t/here) is equiprimordially in both truth and untruth, and that truth must constantly be regained for the Dasein.[29] For a person accustomed to and brought up in a technogenic civilization, where the prevalence of the laws of formal logic are precondition of the domination over things, the following proposition derived from the fundamental-ontological understanding of truth, may sound paradoxical: Propositionally valid truths are not always existentially true, and some propositionally false propositions or even silence can be true in an existential/fundamental-ontological sense. For instance, let us Imagine that John Smith Is holding an idle talk in some talk show. He says that he tends to brush his teeth with menthol toothpaste. This sentence may be true in correspondence terms (i.e., in terms of coincidence of idea of subject and the object), but it may be false, as it is expressed in a closed, untrue field of inauthentic Das Man.

Heidegger connects the primordial field of existence as openness with propositional truths. The former is the hearth of later. This hearth is called the existential of discourse — Dasein can speak both truth and untruth. That is, he/she can express the authentic or inauthentic states of existence. Propositional truth can express existential truth if it is the result of certain modifications. Simply put, propositional truth as a form is one of (but not only) the necessary tools for fundamental-ontological truth; the latter, however, may be expressed with an untrue proposition (in terms of correspondence theory of truth), or simply with silence. The reason for this, according to Heidegger,[30] is that Dasein is based on thrown projection. Consequently, the existence of Dasein must be illustrated as true or false from the viewpoint of care, the being of Dasein.

Heidegger criticizes the correspondence theory of truth because its solidity relies on beings. The fact that beings can be revealed and can be observed is based on the primordial openness of the Being and Truth. Correspondence theories of truth fail to understand what unites (or rather, pre-unites) language and the world. Heidegger explains the way in which reasoning was considered to be the place of truth. According to him,[31] it is based on the ungrounded separation of the real and the intellectual (hence the main principle of the correspondence theory of truth — “adaequatio intelectus et rei”; correspondence of mind and object). For Heidegger, intellect and matter are something present-at-hand; they are in the world. In Cartesian topics, these two — mind and object — assume supposedly independent ontological statuses. However, in fact, they represent the interdependent derivatives of primordial comprehensiveness (analyzed by fundamental-ontology). Thus, invention of separate ontologies is a philosophical blunder that eventually becomes the basis for the corresponding theory of truth.

According to Heidegger, skepticism’s denial of existence or truth is incomplete because:


“The usual refutation of that skepticism which denies
either the Being of ‘truth’ or its cognisability,
stops halfway. What it shows, as a formal argument,
is simply that if anything gets judged,
truth has been presupposed.”[32]


In other words, if a skeptic says that ‘There is no truth’, then it turns out that the phrase itself must be true, which contradicts the content expressed in it. Even the skeptic lives in the field of truth. A skeptic can be compared to a person who denies the existence of water, whilst 75% of his body consists of water. He may deny the existence of water, but surely, he will have to drink water because it is an indispensable component of his being.

Heidegger seeks to revive the theory of truth that was prevalent in pre-Socratic philosophy. Heidegger thus fights against the deontologization of truth, which, in his view, is the destiny of the west beginning with Plato and finalized by Nietzsche.[33] Instead, Heidegger emphasizes the privative nature of the truth. He is thus speaking of the function and understanding of the primordial truth that Western philosophical thought has forgotten. Truth is un-concealment – it has a privative nature; It is α-λήθεια (un-concealment). Thus, truth for Heidegger is the primordial open matrix whose discovery is the prerogative of Dasein. We are pre-established in truth.

Martin Heidegger discusses the idea of revealing the truth in his text The Question Concerning Technology.[34] This text emphasizes that technology is a human practice of opening the concealed. By this practice, a person discovers himself. Heidegger speaks of the positionality (Gestell), which — as a principle of opening — hinders other ‘openers’ of truth (e.g., poetry). More importantly, positionality not only hinders another means of revealing the truth, but it also covers the event of opening itself. Thus, the topos where the revealing occurs — the truth — remains hidden.

Heidegger’s text, Plato’s Doctrine of Truth, traces the first algorithm by which transition is made from the truth as an unconcealment to the truth as correspondence of the statement with the object.

According to Heidegger,[35] Plato’s view that idea is a guide to openness points to the hidden fact of changing in the essence of the truth. Truth is not developed as the essence of obscurity from its fullness with being but is transferred to the essence of the idea. The essence of truth loses unconcealment as its main characteristic. If everything in any relation to the existing-beings (das Seiende) depends on the idea, the sight of the “type,” then every effort should, first of all, be concentrated on securing such a vision. This requires the correctness of the vision. According to Heidegger,[36] perception for Plato is similar to what should be seen — what exists in the ‘visible form’. As a result, there is όμ οίωσις — the similarity of cognition with the subject. Thus, the superiority of vision and view over α-λήθεια is the precondition from which the essence of truth is changed. Truth becomes όρθότης — the truth of expression and perception.[37]

For Heidegger, a change in the essence of truth will at the same time lead to a change of the place of truth. As openness, it remains the main indicator of the existence itself. However, as the truth of the “view”, it becomes a characteristic of the human relationship with the beings. The reasoning of the mind becomes a place of discernment between truth and error. Such a definition of truth already has little to do with α-λήθεια as openness. On the contrary, α-λήθεια is already set against ψευδος, i.e. erroneous, and will be understood as correctness. Such an understanding of truth, in Heidegger’s view, becomes a spell of Western thought.

According to Heidegger,[38] the definition of Being as an idea, which is conditioned by a change in the essence of the truth, requires a special status of the idea. “Paideia”, i.e human education, corresponds to this special status. Caring for humanity and determining its place pervades all metaphysics.

Humanity arranged on the western tenor interprets the essence of truth as the truth of representation. It defines each being in accordance with the ideas, and the beings — in terms of values. That is why we believe that we agree with everyday judgment because we think that we are convinced of many “truths” of life experiences and behaviors, scientific research, creative imagination and belief.

What begins with Plato ends with Nietzsche — one of the driving mottos of Heidegger’s philosophy – also addresses the question of Nietzsche’s understanding of truth. According to Heidegger,[39] Nietzsche remains within the framework of the leading question (Leitfrage) of Western philosophy and asks the question — “What is being of beings?”, whilst the fundamental question (Grundfrage) — “What is Being ?” remains alien for Nietzsche, too.

According to Heidegger,[40] for Nietzsche all existence is becoming, whilst becoming has the character of the will to power. Nietzsche wanted to “unite” becoming (as variability) and being (as immutability), and this is what he saw as the highest will.[41] Heidegger rightly agrees with Nietzsche.[42] This means that becoming is conditioned by the Being. Becoming as such, presupposes eternal return; it is rooted in Being (with the classical understanding of the concept — as a unity of constant principles).

Heidegger distinguishes between two types of understanding of truth:[43]

(1) which does not allow any diversity; in such a case, it is related to the essence of truth;

(2) non-essential, which is multifaceted, yet still related to the essence of truth.

Truth changes in historical time, yet its essence remains the same. For example, if the nineteenth-century proposition that “Workers have nothing to lose but their shackles.” is true, it may be wrong in the twenty-first century, as the working class has adapted to the capitalist system and workers “already have more to lose than shackles.” In both cases, however, the truth was needed to express the situation — this (ontological openness and equiprimordiality of Being and Truth) is the necessary basis on which the propositional truth is established. One proposition may be true in one particular century, and false in another. Heidegger attributes this nature to the second category. Whilst the first (the essence of truth) is the basis: truth is always necessary and universal; that is, we can say that it is meant as an unchangeable open precondition for all doctrines and general truths. That is truth as a fundamental possibility of human existence, surely with different contents, remained same, albeit hidden in historical practices and attitudes.

Heidegger believes[44] that Nietzsche does not go with the first understanding of truth, and for him, truth is something true (i.e., proportionally true). This, for Heidegger,[45] is not a mere omission, but an unalterable characteristic of Western Philosophy.

Here, Heidegger’s reasoning is directed against Nietzschean motivation, according to which truth is a form of illusion, without which a particular type of living being could not exist.[46] However, Nietzsche wants to rescue truth from dualism,[47] so he says that living with dualist understanding of truth is a degeneration.

In Heideggerian theory of truth, art plays an important role, too. For Heidegger, the work of art is something that holds the openness of the world open.[48] According to Heidegger, art, by showing us the `open field`, allow us to see things not as `objects` (i. e. not as something external to be subjugated for our good) but illuminates them `from themselves`. In the contemporary age, where most things (including Human beings) are manufactured or manipulated, it is difficult to let things show themselves.[49] Still, the art is in a way hand-made, but this type of making proves to be different as it does not endeavor to manipulate but tries to show what things are. For instance, the shoes of farmers in Van Gogh’s painting are something that bears in itself the surroundings of its world. It shows the truth of the world around it.

Art is for Heidegger showing the dynamism of truth. That is why he states, “Art is a becoming and happening of truth”.[50]At the same time, art is something that helps us to grasp the primordial truth.

In his work Origin of the Work of Art, Heidegger somewhat ambiguously states, “The Truth in its essence is un-truth”.[51] This does not mean that truth is a falsity but that the principle of hiddenness partakes of it. This principle is something he calls Earth (Erde). For Heidegger, the truth that is conveyed by work of art has still something hidden in it. As it is always this ambiguous character of Aletheia that establishes itself. For Heidegger, the essence of truth, unconcealment, is permeated with negation. That is why he thinks that truth is un-truth. The essence of truth is in the primordial fight. Every fight for truth is the repetition of this fight. To this openness belong Earth and World. Earth is a principle of closure, whilst the world is that of illumination. These two principles, though fighting each other, are never separate. They permeate each other.

Truth seldom happens in essential ways. One of these ways is the becoming of the work of art. For Heidegger, in work, the truth is at work. Whether it is a verse or painting, they allow truth to happen. He moreover adds, “Becoming of work is a type of becoming and happening of truth.”[52] Truth is not something abstract, or as Heidegger mentions,


“But truth does not exist in itself beforehand, somewhere among the stars,
only later to descend elsewhere among beings. This is impossible
for the reason alone that it is after all only the openness of beings
that first affords the possibility of a somewhere and a place
filled by present beings.”[53]


Still, it needs to occur among beings and that is what art with its `tool` provide. It needs in a way construction so that it can construct itself. The essence of art is putting itself in truth. And truth put in the work becomes beauty.

Heidegger’s views on truth open up a wide horizon for the reinterpretation of Nietzsche’s notions of truth and for synthesis into Heidegger’s philosophy.



At first glance, these two narratives about truth have little in common. However, when we go deeply into details, important similarities arise.

The first thing that emerges is the insufficiency of the genealogic method in the study of the question of truth. The foresight of the specific contents of becoming itself, which are culturally related to this or that project of truth — whether to the affirmative for life or to the negative — says little about the truth as an unconcealment, as the initial “field” of openness. Consequently, Heidegger answers Nietzsche’s question about why truth and why not falsehood. Because we live in truth and seek to open it (even if the truth has perspectival nature). Even the fact that evaluative perspectives claim to be truth, is an unconscious appeal to possession of this field of α-λήθεια. This very claim unknowingly points to the “importance” of primordial openness.

Nietzsche’s philosophical leitmotif is that truth is conditioned and that it is a perspective. This leitmotif is part of the philosophical euphoria that characterizes the uprooter of the Platonist-Christian paradigm, and logically so. However, the point is that Nietzsche realizes the illusory nature of the distance between subject and object, and with energetic pathos asserts that the truths are conditioned intentionally. And on his part, choosing the truths useful for life and betting on them, once again points to the shortcomings of genealogy and now of the symptomatology — namely, that he cannot recognize the primordial nature of truth as an open matrix. The evolution of man and the refinement of the mind, with its cultural algorithms, the connection between memory and the fear of punishment, and all that the genealogical method has to offer, will not suffice to investigate the phenomenon of primordial openness which as truth is involved in the dynamics of creativity. Consequently, it will by no means suffice to merely appeal to the fact that the “organs of knowledge” have been trained historically, nor can it unfold the algorithm as to which drivers are bringing the truth to the forefront. For an organ to be trained for something (here: for Truth), this something must be pre-given and that givenness must be valuable.

The value thus acquires a different meaning — different from the one in which Heidegger criticizes the connection between value and the truth. The value of concrete truths — both pragmatic and non-pragmatic truths — stems from α-λήθεια, the unconcealment. However, Heidegger understands the value of truth in the historical context of the oblivion of Being, so that he may correctly read the algorithms of Western history. However, it seems that Heidegger, driven by his stance against Neokantianism and Cartesianism, does not see into the field, which would show that α-λήθεια, as well as truth, must assume the form of value to be formed socially. Indeed, if one’s own life is not set as some kind of target value, it loses the ability to function and the ability to make sense in social life. And of course, to function does not only mean to function in a manipulated manner, in a style of Das Man.

Another of Nietzsche’s arguments, the implicit meaning of which is to show the “genealogy” of truth, and which has a critical intent, sounds like this: from the impulse comes the image, then the concept. Human being is a kind of metaphor generating machine. The very way and its direction that it aspires to the truth, as such, not only negates the importance of the primordial importance of the truth but also confirms the superiority of Heidegger’s theory of α-λήθεια. The path from an impulse to concept contains not only a simple reflection of the “object” into the “subject” but this “path” as such carries with it more potential for opening (α-λήθεια), which goes beyond a simple reflection or generalization. In this opening (unconcealing), one does not only deal with a reflection of images. In the path described by Nietzsche, the potentials of this “object” and the aspects of the primary code of the universe, which are carried by the “object”, will be carried through implicitly as well. For instance, when I see an eagle, not only its image will pass the path described by Nietzsche, from an impulse to a concept, but also the additional, albeit hidden, potentials of its opening. That is, in the case of an eagle, the genus of the particular bird or its aesthetic characteristics is also conveyed through the path that then will have to be uncovered. In other words, the neurological path from the “object” to the “subject” and the possibility of going through this path is predetermined by — α-λήθεια (understanding of which was revived by Heidegger), because both the “subject” and the “object” live in truth (un-truth). These very connections determine the potentials of openness and cognition — these potentials are given in advance and are primordially established.

It is also noteworthy that for Heidegger’s theory of truth, so-called “argument of becoming,” cannot be valid. According to this argument, truth needs some kind of unity, and because of becoming (eternal variability), some propositions cannot be true. The weakness of such an argument, once deployed by Nietzsche, is that it remains in the frame of correspondence theory of truth, pointing only to the empirical version of the truth and does not explicitly express the backgrounds of such correspondence — namely, that becoming as such is becoming of the truth. This truth in becoming does not exclude perspectivism, as the later requires former as its establisher.

The openness of truth does not mean absolutization of any moral norm. It implies that the moral norm, as such, must be claimed to be true, in order that he can reach out, expand, take root, and become an integral part of day-to-day existence. The fact that such an algorithm seamlessly leads to the will of power not only does not negate α-λήθεια, but also adds one additional aspect to it. This is power nature of α-λήθεια. This is due not only to the fact that opening, moving into the unhidden, implies invasion (which is considered by Heidegger in What is Metaphysics and The Question Concerning Technology) but also due to “as such” nature of the truth. Truth exists “as such”, but it is not a bearer of concrete content (except for mathematical truths), but it is the primordial principle that gives concrete perspectives (concrete moral visions) the right to life and the basis to claim oneself.

Therefore, the following question to Nietzsche may claim its validity. What to do with things that are neither in becoming, nor safe truths, but represent ever-repeating moments in creation whose existential significance is immeasurably greater than that of the equation ‘7 + 5 = 12’? Heidegger describes such structures in Being and Time. The existence of such a priori-existentials, which are obviously rooted in the pre-Dasein phase of life, indicates the possibility of true propositions in evaluation. For example, the observer can say about John Smith: “You lied and existed in a non-authentic way when you informed us with a gleaming face about the toothpaste you brush your teeth with.” The very existence of authentic and inauthentic modes explains the existentially valid (but “non-harmless”) nature of truth as such. Nietzsche’s argument of becoming cannot be an obstacle to truth. The “open field” theorized by Heidegger can in no way hinder α-λήθεια from becoming, because these two are in a way the same. It is the becoming that draws and brings to the fore (with Heidegger’s Einbruch, and Nietzsche’s exercising mind with punishment) a priori-existential structures discussed in Being and Time. This is confirmed, among others, by Nietzsche’s words from his work Beyond Good and Evil. In the 39th section of this work, Nietzsche speaks of the strength of the soul determined by how much truth it can bear. These words clarify Heidegger’s understanding of α-λήθεια, namely that openness is not “sweet” and that we cannot easily grasp the “truths” opened by the clearing, because it faces us against nothingness. Nietzsche’s thesis about the “endurance” of soul proves α-λήθεια with the fact that it also finds truths that are difficult to bear. And these truths are immutable – it is to this immutability that Heidegger’s understanding of the Angst and Nietzsche’s famous passage about “looking into the eyes of the abyss” lead.

In addressing art, Nietzsche moves within the theory of α-λήθεια. He imbues art with the new type of truth, which, though has traces of truth different from scientific truth, still permeated with illusion as such. Nietzsche’s theory of art is very close to Heidegger’s, as both try to underline the role of art in conveying some deep truths of life. However, Nietzsche, unlike Heidegger is less able to put it in the wider theoretical context, whilst Heidegger does it by revitalizing truth as unconcealment.

α-λήθεια and Nietzsche’s view about truth have several things in common. Both of them, albeit in different manner, appeal to humanity to become something more than mere `pragmatism of stomach`. They both provide specific understanding of truth as an existence that is to be a goal. In Heidegger’s case, it an authentic existence characterized by anticipatory resoluteness and coming to terms with death. Nietzschean overman is similar to the authentic existence of Heidegger. “The bridge” Nietzsche speaks of is a path between inauthentic and authentic existence. This very inauthenticity is to be overcome by Human being. From the beginning of his philosophical development, Nietzsche knows that courage is an important value. For sure, this is value and Heideggerian authenticity produces values and “morality”, never mind how much he would abstain from recognizing it. Therefore, truth for human-being as far as he/she is, is that to be in constant and perpetual state of overcoming and here of course two philosophies come to terms.

With his “positive” attitudes toward truth, Nietzsche approaches the understanding of truth theorized by Heidegger but does not fully elaborate It due to his own goals and setting of philosophy. On the other hand, Heidegger doesn’t fully recognize Nietzsche’s lines about courage and honesty, his overman, who, in their turn, very much resemble or epitomize parts of a priori-existential structures, elaborated Heidegger in Being and Time.



Relation between Nietzsche’s and Heidegger’s theories of truth drives us to several conclusions.

First of all, the will to power as a background and the main motivator of perspectives not only does not rule out Heidegger’s theory of α-λήθεια, but on the contrary, argues that truth as α-λήθεια implies the will of power on almost synonymous level. This argument occurs not only due to the “invasive” nature of opening, but also due to truth as such. In “truth as such” we imply not only “mathematical truths” but truth as the primordial open field which guarantees that truth — whether pragmatic or highly-existential — does have a value; This allows us to conclude that Heidegger’s philosophy freely contains Nietzschean perspectivism. He can easily hold it in it even in the sense that fear or anxiety, authentic or inauthentic modes lead to different perspectives.

Secondly, the genealogical method is insufficient for a complete study of the nature of truth, as it underlines the “brain training” algorithm, which says nothing essential about what it is trained for; This method says nothing about the nature of α-λήθεια itself but shows the historical and contentual change of truth projects. However, these very changes latently may shed light to the authentic type of truth theorized by Heidegger; the fact that perspectives claim to hold truth for themselves, points to the Being, which in its turn, is equiprimordial to power in the original code of universe. The insufficiency of Nietzsche’s method is clear in his thoughts about neurological path from impulse and concept. His reflection on this subject needs clarification in the sense that appealing to this path reveals the common “roots” of “subject” and “object”, which is ever becoming- α-λήθεια.

Thirdly, Heidegger’s prediction of the decadence of Western Philosophy in equating value and truth is somewhat justified, although doubts remain that lead us to conclude: truth, the very mode of existence, must take on a value form in order to function socially. Truth is connected with value to Heidegger; he just does not recognize it. Heidegger cannot separate his critical attitude towards “value” because he equates it with “machinization” — the calculative mind, whilst value is the necessary form that provides the social function of any primordial, universal code.

Finally, both Heidegger and Nietzsche treat values alike in the sense that they relate to life in some way. This occurs in terms of authenticity/inauthenticity for Heidegger, whilst for Nietzsche they are enframed in the context of the usefulness and abusiveness to life. Both Nietzsche and Heidegger are skeptical of the world beyond. However, Nietzsche is very doubtful of maintaining any type of overarching `truth` for this world, whilst Heidegger maintains it and imbues art with it.




Heidegger, Martin. Holzwege (Gesamtausgabe – Band 5). Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann Ghmb, 1977.

Heidegger, Martin. Nietzsche (Gesamtausgabe – Band 6.1). Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann Ghmb, 1996.

Heidegger, Martin. Sein und Zeit (Gesamtausgabe – Band 2). Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann Ghmb, 1977.

Heidegger, Martin. Wegmarken (Gesamtausgabe – Band 9). Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann Ghmb, 1976.

Nietzsche, Friedrich.  Beyond Good and Evil. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Nietzsche, Friedrich.  Der Wille zur Macht. Leipzig: Alfred Kröner Verlag, 1930.

Nietzsche, Friedrich.  Philosophy and Truth. New Jersey, London: Humanities Press International, 1979.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Ecce Homo. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Human all-too-Human. Edinburgh and London: T. N. Foulis, 1910.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Morgenröthe. Leipzig: Verlag von E.W. Fritzsch, 1887.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Gay Science. New York: Vintage Books, 1974.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Twilight of Idols. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997.

Richardson, John. Nietzsche’s System. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.



[1] Otar Tchulukhadze is a Georgian philosopher and PhD student at Tbilisi State University. He is also a lecturer at Tbilisi State Conservatoire. He has translated several philosophical works into Georgian: Schopenhauer as Educator; On the Use and Abuse of History for Life (Friedrich Nietzsche); One-Dimensional Man (Herbert Marcuse); Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life (Alan Watts).  

[2] Friedrich Nietzsche, Der Wille zur Macht (Leipzig: Alfred Kröner Verlag, 1930) p. 414.

[3] Nietzsche, Der Wille zur Macht, p. 17.

[4] Friedrich Nietzsche, Philosophy and Truth (New Jersey, London: Humanities Press International, 1979) p. 19.

[5] Nietzsche, Der Wille zur Macht, p. 392.

[6] Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of Idols (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997) pp. 169-173.

[7] Nietzsche, Der Wille zur Macht, pp. 288, 316.

[8] Friedrich Nietzsche, Morgenröthe (Leipzig: Verlag von E.W. Fritzsch, 1887) p. 43.

[9] The same pathos, supportive of knowledge, can also be traced in: Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002) p. 122.

[10] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science (New York: Vintage Books, 1974) p. 84.

[11] Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) p. 4.

[12] Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, p. 37.

[13] For Nietzsche’s endorsement of honesty, see: Nietzsche, Morgenröthe, pp. 301, 356. & Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, pp. 8, 117-118.

[14] John Richardson, Nietzsche’s System (New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996) p. 260.

[15] Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, p. 4.

[16] Nietzsche, Der Wille zur Macht, p. 553.

[17] Art maintains a vital role for Nietzsche, except for the positivistic period where science gains prevalence and art is shown in a “negative context” (Nietzsche, Morgenröthe, p. 291. & Friedrich Nietzsche, Human all-too-Human (Edinburgh and London: T. N. Foulis, 1910) pp. 44-45, 157, 163-164, 199, 204-206.). 

[18] Nietzsche embedded art in the affirmative project of transvaluation: Nietzsche, Der Wille zur Macht, p. 543, 552-553.

[19] Nietzsche, Philosophy and Truth, pp. 68, 82.

[20] See also: Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, p. 114.

[21] Nietzsche, Der Wille zur Macht, p. 336.

[22] Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, p. 23.

[23] Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, p. 27.

[24] Sein und Zeit (GA 2), p. 287; tr. (by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson), Being and Time, p. 259.

[25] GA 2, p. 284; tr., p. 257.

[26] GA 2, p. 283; tr., p. 256.

[27] GA 2, p. 292; tr., p. 263.

[28] GA 2, pp. 294-295; tr., p. 265.

[29] GA 2, p. 294; tr., p. 265.

[30] GA 2, p. 295; tr., p. 265.

[31] GA 2, p. 287; tr., p. 259.

[32] GA 2, p. 302; tr., p. 271.

[33] Wegmarken (GA 9), p. 237. tr. (Edited by William McNeill), Pathmarks, p. 181.

[34] Vorträge und Aufsätze (GA 7), p. 5-36.

[35] GA 9, p. 230; tr., p. 176.

[36] GA 9, p. 214; tr., p. 164.

[37] GA 9, pp. 230-231; tr., p. 176-177.

[38] GA 9, p. 236; tr., p. 181.

[39] Nietzsche (GA 6.1), p. 2; tr., (by David Farrell Krell), Nietzsche, p. 4.

[40] GA 6.1, p. 5.

[41] Nietzsche, Der Wille zur Macht, p. 418.

[42] GA 6.1, p. 16.

[43] GA 6.1, p. 147-148.

[44] GA 6.1, p. 572.

[45] GA 6.1, p. 151.

[46] Nietzsche, Der Wille zur Macht, p. 343.

[47] Nietzsche, Der Wille zur Macht, p. 552.

[48] Holzwege (GA 5), p. 31; (tr. by Julian Young and Kenneth Haynes), Off the Beaten Track, p. 23.

[49] GA 5, p. 16; tr., p. 12.

[50] GA 5, p. 59; tr., p. 44.

[51] GA 5, p. 41; tr., p. 31.

[52] GA 5, p. 48; tr., p. 36.

[53] GA 5, p. 49; tr., pp. 36-37.