Are the two terms the same or not? In what sense Heidegger makes a distinction between the two?

Can someone give also simple examples of the difference?


1 Answer 1


The science that studies a be-ing is, for Heidegger, ontic [ontique], and it is necessary to distinguish it from the science of the being of a be-ing which alone is ontological [ontologique]. Let us examine these distinctions more closely. The attributes of a be-ing make it to be of this or that determination. In identifying its attributes, we say what it is, or end up at its essence [GT : the realm of the ontic]. But alongside the essence of a be-ing, we can affirm, through a perception or demonstration [GT : the realm of ontology], that it exists. (Emmanuel Levinas, 'Martin Heidegger and Ontology', Diacritics, Vol. 26, No. 1 (Spring, 1996), pp. 11-32 : 15.)

So, for example, I can take X, an object in my world, and determine its essence, fix its essential attributes. This is an ontic exercise. I can also consider what it is for X, with its essential attributes, to exist. In contrast this is an ontological inquiry.

  • ontic is like what it is, and ontological is its Being, right? a hammer is ontically a tool with a head and handle, and ontologically something present at hand
    – user38026
    Feb 4, 2020 at 5:30
  • 1
    Thanks for comment. Yes, you're right. Best - GT
    – Geoffrey Thomas
    Feb 5, 2020 at 12:13

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