§75 [521-23]

distinction that concerns the being of beings, or more precisely the distinction within which everything ontological moves and which it presupposes, as it were, for its own possibility. It is the distinction in which being is distinguished from beings, which it also determines in the way their being is constituted. The ontological difference is the difference sustaining and guiding such a thing as the ontological in general, and not a particular distinction that can or must be made within the ontological.

Even in giving it this name and outlining its features, we are pushing the problem of the distinction between being and beings into the framework of ontology, i.e., we are inserting it into a direction of questioning and discussion that has particular intentions and especially limits, both with respect to the extent of its problematic and above all with respect to its originality. Certainly we may say with some legitimacy that ontology first attains a clear problematic with this problem of the ontological difference and its elaboration precisely in the context of the problem of world. On the other hand, however, we must ponder the following: it is nowhere written that there must be such a thing as ontology, nor that the problematic of philosophy is rooted in ontology. If we look closely, we see that already in Aristotle where the distinction irrupts—ὃ ᾗ ὄν—everything is still indeterminate and in flux, still open, so that it is generally questionable (and is certainly becoming more and more questionable for me) whether those coming afterward ever came close to the proper intention of ancient metaphysics at all, and whether the scholastic tradition did not cover over everything, even where we no longer suspect it. Perhaps the problem of the distinction between being and beings is prematurely stifled as a problematic by our entrusting it to ontology and naming it in this way. Conversely, we must ultimately unfold this problem still more radically, with the danger of arriving at a position where we must reject all ontology in its very idea as an inadequate metaphysical problematic. Yet what are we then to put in place of ontology? Kant's transcendental philosophy, for instance? Here it is only the name and claims that have been changed, while the idea itself has been retained. Transcendental philosophy too must fall. What, then, is to take the place of ontology? This is a premature, and above all superficial question. For in the end, through our unfolding of the problem, we altogether lose the place in which we could replace ontology by something else. It is only thus that we shall ultimately come completely into the open, and out of the framework and boundary posts of contrived disciplines. Ontology too and its idea must fall, precisely because the radicalization of this idea was a necessary stage in unfolding the fundamental problematic of metaphysics.

One might object, however, that ontology moves within the realm of the distinction between being and beings with the intent of bringing to light the constitution of being pertaining to beings. Is it not a well-considered task to carry out this undertaking and thereby to take advantage of the horizons that

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