Marburg, winter semester, 1925/26, unveiling the deer.
Before going on with our discussion, let’s take some examples of
deception and the covering-over of beings. Say I am walking in a dark
woods and see something coming toward me through the fir trees.
“It’s a deer,” I say. The statement need not be explicit. As I get nearer
to it, I see it’s just a bush that I’m approaching. In understanding, addressing,
and being concerned with this thing, I have acted as one
who covers-over: the unexpressed statement shows the being as something
other than it is.
We can point out how the three conditions are present in this
1. It is necessary that beforehand I already have something given
to me, something coming toward me. If something did not already
encounter me from the outset, there would be no occasion
to regard it as . . . Always already there is a priori disclosure
2. It is also necessary that, as I approach the thing, I take it as something.
In other words, in the field of everyday experience, I don’t
just stand there, as it were, in the woods and have something
simply and immediately in front of me. A situation like that is
pure fiction. Rather, in an unexpressed way, I encounter something
that I already understand, something that is already articulated
as something and, as such, is expected and accepted in my
way of dealing with the world. Only because I let whatever
encounters me encounter me on the basis of the act of envisioning
something (say, a deer), can that thing appear as a deer.
3. And the encountering-being can show itself to my act of envisioning
“as this thing” and “in this way” only because, along
with the encountering-being and the other things present in
this world (particularly in the lived world of “forest”), something
like “a deer” can indeed be present among the trees. This
is so insofar as the encountering-being entails the general possibility
of synthesis, a possibility which, with regard to concrete
deception, is always oriented objectively, i.e., includes within itself
a range of indications. To take the above example, I would
not, in fact, think that what was approaching me was the Shah
of Iran, even though something like that is intrinsically possible.
The Shah is a being that could appear among the trees in a
German forest at night, whereas there is not a chance that I
would see anything like the cubed root of sixty-nine coming
These three conditions of the possibility of falsehood are obviously
interconnected. The decisive question is: How?