487 II. 6
Being and Time

'grounds' for those structures which were just 'pointed out' in our earlier treatment. Nevertheless, our way of exhibiting the constitution of Dasein's Being remains only one way which we may take. Our aim is to work out the question of Being in general. The thematic analytic of existence, however, first needs the light of the idea of Being in general, which must be clarified beforehand. This holds particularly if we adhere to the principle which we expressed in our introduction as one by which any philosophical investigation may be gauged: that philosophy "is universal phenomenological ontology, and takes its departure from the hermeneutic of Dasein, which, as an analytic of existence, has made fast the guiding-line for all philosophical inquiry at the point where it arises and to which it returns."xii This thesis, of course, is to be regarded not as a dogma, but rather as a formulation of a problem of principle which still remains 'veiled': can one provide ontological grounds for ontology, or does it also require an ontical foundation? and which entity must take over the function of providing this foundation?

The distinction between the Being of existing Dasein and the Being of entities, such as Reality, which do not have the character of Dasein, may appear very illuminating; but it is still only the point of departure for the [437] ontological problematic; it is nothing with which philosophy may tranquillize itself. It has long been known that ancient ontology works with 'Thing-concepts' and that there is a danger of 'reifying consciousness'. But what does this "reifying" signify? Where does it arise? Why does Being get 'conceived' 'proximally' in terms of the present-at-hand and not in terms of the ready-to-hand, which indeed lies closer to us? Why does this reifying always keep coming back to exercise its dominion? What positive structure does the Being of 'consciousness' have, if reification remains inappropriate to it? Is the 'distinction' between 'consciousness' and 'Thing' sufficient for tackling the ontological problematic in a primordial manner? Do the answers to these questions lie along our way? And can we even seek the answer as long as the question of the meaning ofBeing remains unformulated and unclarified?

One can never carry on researches into the source and the possibility of the 'idea' of Being in general simply by means of the 'abstractions' of formal logic—that is, without any secure horizon for question and answer. One must seek a way of casting light on the fundamental question of ontology, and this is the way one must go. Whether this is the only way or even the right one at all, can be decided only after one has gone along it. The conflict as to the Interpretation of Being cannot be allayed, because it has not yet been enkindled. And in the end this is not the kind of conflict one can 'bluster into'; it is of the kind which cannot get enkindled unless


Being and Time (M&R) by Martin Heidegger