unveiledness, as the truth concerning being, is termed ontological truth.a Certainly, the terms "ontology" and "ontological" are ambivalent, indeed in such a way that the problem peculiar to any ontology is precisely concealed. Λόγος of the ὄν means: the addressing (λέγειν) of beings as beings, yet at the same time it signifies that with respect to which beings are addressed (λεγόμενον). Addressing something as something, however, does not yet necessarily entail comprehending in its essence whatever is thus addressed. The understanding [29 {GA 9 132}] of being (λόγος in a quite broad sense)b that guides and illuminates in advance all comportment toward beings is neither a grasping of beingc as such, nor is it a conceptual comprehending of what is thus grasped (λόγος in its narrowest sense="ontological" concept). We therefore call this understanding of being that has not yet been brought to a concept a pre-ontological understanding, or ontological in the broader sense. A conceptual comprehending of being presupposes that our understanding of being has developed itself, and that being as understood, projected in general, and somehow unveiled in such understanding, has expressly been made thematic and problematic. Between preontological understanding of being and the explicit problematic of conceptually comprehending being there are many different levels. One characteristic level, for example, is that projection of the ontological constitution of beings that simultaneously marks out a determinate field (nature, history) as a region for possible objectification through scientific knowledge. The prior determination of the being (what-being and how-being) of nature in general is anchored in the "fundamental concepts" [Grundbegriffe] of the relevant science. In such concepts, space, place, time, motion, mass, force, and velocity are delimited, for example, and yet the essence of time or motion does not become an explicit problem. The understanding of the being of a being that is present at hand is here brought to a concept, yet the conceptual determination of time and place, etc., the definitions, are, in their approach and range, governed solely by the fundamental manner of questioning directed toward beings in the relevant science. The fundamental concepts of contemporary

a First edition, 1929: Unclear! Ontological truth is unveiling of beingness — via the categories — but beingness as such is already ant particular truth of beyng, one way in which its essential prevailing is cleared. This distinction between "antic and ontological truth" is only a doubling of unconcealment and initially remains ensconced within the Platonic approach. Thus what has been said hitherto only points the direction of an overcoming, hut no overcoming is accomplished or grounded in terms of its own proper ground.

b First edition, 1929: Here the erroneous procedure of merely extending ontological. metaphysical thinking to the question concerning the truth of beyng.

c First edition, 1929: Grasping of being: (a) in categorial-metaphysical terms, or (b) in a quite different manner, as projection of the essential prevailing of the truth of beyng.


Martin Heidegger (GA 9) What Is Metaphysics?