The “Ontological Difference” Again. A Dialetheic Perspective on Heidegger’s Mainstay

Francesco Gandellini 1
  • 1 University of Turin,, Turin, Italy


This paper intends to offer a new assessment of the “Ontological Difference” (OD), one of Martin Heidegger’s mainstays, in the light of the metaphysical view called “dialetheism”. In the first paragraph I briefly summarize the main argument of Heidegger’s contradiction of Being, where OD is present as a premise. In the second paragraph I introduce dialetheism, indicate two kinds of dialetheic solutions to the paradox and explain why they face comeback troubles from OD. The third paragraph is devoted to a review of Heidegger’s uses of OD and underlines the crucial role of negation in it. In the fourth paragraph I investigate the philosopher’s account of negation and show similarities with the account provided by the paraconsistent logic called “Logic of Paradox”. The fifth paragraph puts forward two possible readings of OD, the first based on the classical notion of negation and the second on the notion of negation pointed out in the previous paragraph. The second reading is proved suitable for dialetheists and in accordance with the exegesis of some textual passages from Heidegger’s late works.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • GA 2 Sein und Zeit. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1927. [In English:] Being and Time. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996. [In Italian:] Essere e Tempo. Milano: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, 2015.

  • GA 5 Holzwege. Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann Verlag, 1950. [In English:] Off the Beaten Track. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. [In Italian:] Holzwege. Sentieri erranti nella selva. Milano: Bompiani, 2006.

  • GA 6.2 Nietzsche 2. Pfullingen: Gunther Neske Verlag, 1961. [In English:] Nietzsche. Vol.I, Vol. II, Vol. III. San Francisco: Harper & Row. [In Italian:] Nietzsche. Milano: Adelphi, 2018.

  • GA 9 Wegmarken. Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann Verlag, 1967. [In English:] Pathmarks. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. [In Italian:] Segnavia. Milano: Adelphi, 1987.

  • GA 11 Identität und Differenz. Pfullingen: Gunther Neske Verlag, 1957a. [In Italian:] Identità e Differenza. Milano: Adelphi, 2009.

  • GA 14 Zur Sache des Denkens. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1969.

  • GA 15 Seminare. Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann Verlag, 1986. [In Italian:] Seminari. Milano: Adelphi, 1992.

  • GA 24 Die Grundprobleme der Phänomenologie. Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann Verlag, 1975. [In English:] Basic Problems of Phenomenology. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1982. [In Italian:] I Problemi Fondamentali della Fenomenologia. Genova: il Melangolo, 1989.

  • GA 27 Einleitung in die Philosophie. Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann Verlag, 1996.

  • GA 28 Der Deutsche Idealismus (Fichte, Schelling, Hegel). Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann Verlag, 1997.

  • GA 29/30 Die Grundbegriffe der Metaphysik. Welt - Endlichkeit - Einsamkeit. Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann Verlag, 1983. [In English:] The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1995. [In Italian:] Concetti fondamentali della metafisica. Mondo, finitezza, solitudine. Genova: il Melangolo, 2005.

  • GA 65 Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis). Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann Verlag, 1989a. [In English:] Contribution to Philosophy (of the Event). Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2012. [In Italian:] Contributi alla filosofia (Dell’evento). Milano: Adelphi, 2007.

  • GA 67 Metaphysik und Nihilismus. Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann Verlag, 1999. [In Italian:] Metafisica e nichilismo. Genova: il Melangolo, 2006.

  • GA 69 Die Geschichte des Seyns. Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann Verlag, 1998b. [In English:] The History of Beyng. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2015. [In Italian:] La storia dell’Essere. Milano: Marinotti Editori, 2012.

  • GA 71 Das Ereignis. Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann Verlag, 2009. [In English:] The Event. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2013. [In Italian:] L’evento. Milano: Mimesis, 2017.

  • Braver, Lee. “Analyzing Heidegger: A history of analytic reactions to Heidegger.” In Interpreting Heidegger: Critical Essays, edited by Daniel Dahlstrom, 235-255. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

  • Casati, Filippo. “Heidegger’s Grund:(Para-) foundationalism.” In Reality and its structure: Essays in fundamentality, edited by Ricki Bliss and Graham Priest, 291-311. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018;

  • Casati, Filippo. “Heidegger and The Contradiction of Being” (manuscript);

  • Casati, Filippo and Priest, Graham. “Heidegger and Dogen on the ineffable”. In The Significance of Indeterminacy: Perspectives in Continental and Asian Philosophy, edited by Gregory Scott Moss and Robert Scott. Routledge (forthcoming, 2018).

  • Casati, Filippo, and Wheeler, Michael. “The Recent Engagement Between Analytic Philosophy and Heideggerian Thought: Metaphysics and Mind.” Philosophy Compass 11.9 (2016): 486-498.

  • Dahlstrom, Daniel O. “Heidegger’s method: philosophical concepts as formal indications.” The Review of Metaphysics (1994): 775-795.

  • Dahlstrom, Daniel O. “Thematization, Mediation, and the Formal Indication: Between Poetry and Theology”. In Heidegger’s concept of truth, 433-456. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

  • Jaran, Francois, and Perrin, Christophe, The Heidegger Concordance. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013.

  • McDaniel, Kris. “Ways of being”. In Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology, edited by David Chalmers, David Manley, and Ryan Wasserman, 290-319. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

  • McManus, Denis. “Ontological Pluralism and the Being and Time Project”. Journal of the History of Philosophy 51.4 (2013): 651-673.

  • Moore, Adrien W. “Heidegger: Letting Being Be”. In The Evolution of Modern Metaphysics: Making Sense of Things, 459-492. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press, 2011.

  • Okrent, Mark. Heidegger’s Pragmatism. New York, Cornell University Press, 1988.

  • Priest, Graham. “The logic of paradox”. Journal of Philosophical logic 8.1 (1979): 219-241.

  • Priest, Graham. “Heidegger and the grammar of being.” In Grammar in early twentieth-century philosophy, edited by Richard Gaskin, 238-251. Routledge, 2001.

  • Priest, Graham. In Contradiction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

  • Priest, Graham. “Sein language.” The Monist 97.4 (2014): 430-442.

  • Priest, Graham. “The Answer to the Question of Being”. In Beyond the Analytic-Continental Divide: Pluralist Philosophy in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Jeffrey A. Bell, Andrew Cutrofello, and Paul M. Livingston, 249-258. Routledge, 2015.

  • Routley, Richard and Routley, Val. “Negation and Contradiction”. Revista colombiana de matematicas 19.1-2 (1985): 201-230.

  • Witherspoon, Edward. “Logic and the Inexpressible in Frege and Heidegger.” Journal of the History of Philosophy 40.1 (2002): 89-113.


Journal + Issues

Open Philosophy is an international Open Access, peer-reviewed academic journal covering all areas of philosophy. The objective of Open Philosophy is to foster free exchange of ideas and provide an appropriate platform for presenting, discussing and disseminating new concepts, current trends, theoretical developments and research findings related to the broadest philosophical spectrum.