construction of being, a destruction—a critical process in which the traditional concepts, which at first must necessarily be employed, are deconstructed down to the sources from which they were drawn. Only by means of this destruction can ontology fully assure itself in a phenomenological way of the genuine character of its concepts.
These three basic components of phenomenological method—reduction, construction, destruction—belong together in their content and must receive grounding in their mutual pertinence. Construction in philosophy is necessarily destruction, that is to say, a de-constructing of traditional concepts carried out in a historical recursion to the tradition. And this is not a negation of the tradition or a condemnation of it as worthless: quite the reverse, it signifies precisely a positive appropriation of tradition. Because destruction belongs to construction, philosophical cognition is essentially at the same time, in a certain sense, historical cognition. "History of philosophy." as it is called. belongs to the concept of philosophy as science, to the concept of phenomenological investigation. The history of philosophy is not an arbitrary appendage to the business of teaching philosophy, which provides an occasion for picking up some convenient and easy theme for passing an examination or even for just looking around to see how things were in earlier times. Knowledge of the history of philosophy is intrinsically unitary on its own account, and the specific mode of historical cognition in philosophy differs in its object from all other scientific knowledge of history.
The method of ontology thus delineated makes it possible to characterize the idea of phenomenology distinctively as the scientific procedure of philosophy. We therewith gain the possibility of defining the concept of philosophy more concretely. Thus our considerations in the third part lead back again to the starting point of the course.
The path of our thought in the course will accordingly be divided into three parts:
Part One. Phenomenological-critical discussion of several traditional theses about being
Part Two. The fundamental-ontological question about the meaning of being in general. The basic structures and basic ways of being
Part Three. The scientific method of ontology and the idea of phenomenology