Chapter One

The Problem of the
Ontological Difference

It is not without reason that the problem of the distinction between being in general and beings occurs here in first place. For the purpose of the discussion of this difference is to make it possible first of all to get to see thematically and put into investigation, in a clear and methodically secure way, the like of being in distinction from beings. The possibility of ontology, of philosophy as a science, stands and falls with the possibility of a sufficiently clear accomplishment of this differentiation between being and beings and accordingly with the possibility of negotiating the passage from the ontical consideration of beings to the ontological thematization of being. The discussions in this chapter will therefore claim our preponderant Interest. Being and its distinction from beings can be fixed only if we get a proper hold on the understanding of being as such. But to comprehend the understanding of being means first and foremost to understand that being to whose ontological constitution the understanding of being belongs. the Dasein. Exposition of the basic constitution of the Dasein, its existential constitution, is the task of the preparatory ontological analytic of the Dasein's existential constitution. We call it the existential analytic of the Dasein. It must aim at bringing to light the ground of the basic structures of the Dasein in their unity and wholeness. To be sure, in the first part we occasionally gave individual portions of such an existential analytic, so far as the positively critical discussions provisionally required. But we have neither run through them in their systematic order nor given an express exposition of the Dasein's basic constitution. Before we discuss the basic ontological problem, the existential analytic of the Dasein needs to be developed. This, however, is impossible within the present course, if we