This is one that must be treated phenomenologically. Thus our treatise does not subscribe to a 'standpoint' or represent any special 'direction'; for phenomenology is nothing of either sort, nor can it become so as long as it understands itself. The expression 'phenomenology' signifies primarily a methodological conception. This expression does not characterize the what of the objects of philosophical research as subject-matter, but rather the how of that research. The more genuinely a methodological concept is worked out and the more comprehensively it determines the principles on which a science is to be conducted, all the more primordially is it rooted in the way we come to terms with the things themselves,1 and the farther is it removed from what we call "technical devices", though there are many such devices even in the theoretical disciplines.
Thus the term 'phenomenology' expresses a maxim which can be formulated  as 'To the things themselves!' It is opposed to all free-floating constructions and accidental findings; it is opposed to taking over any conceptions which only seem to have been demonstrated; it is opposed to those pseudo-questions which parade themselves as 'problems', often for generations at a time. Yet this maxim, one may rejoin, is abundantly self-evident, and it expresses, moreover, the underlying principle of any scientific knowledge whatsoever. Why should anything so self-evident be taken up explicitly in giving a title to a branch of research? In point of fact, the issue here is a kind of 'self-evidence' which we should like to bring closer to us, so far as it is important to do so in casting light upon the procedure of our treatise. We shall expound only the preliminary conception [Vorbegriff] of phenomenology.
This expression has two components: "phenomenon" and "logos". Both of these go back to terms from the Greek: φαινόμενον and λόγος. Taken superficially, the term "phenomenology" is formed like "theology", "biology", "sociology"—names which may be translated as "science of God", "science of life", "science of society". This would make phenomenology the science of phenomena. We shall set forth the preliminary conception of phenomenology by characterizing what one has in mind in the term's two components, 'phenomenon' and 'logos', and by establishing the meaning of the name in which these are put together. The history of the word itself, which presumably arose in the Wolffian school, is here of no significance.
1 The appeal to the 'Sachen selbst', which Heidegger presents as virtually a slogan for Husserl's phenomenology, is not easy to translate without giving misleading impressions. What Husserl has in mind is the 'things' that words may be found to signify when their significations are correctly intuited by the right kind of Anschauung. (Cf. his Logische Untersuchungen, vol. 2, part 1, second edition, Halle, 1 913, p. 6.) We have followed Marvin Farber in adopting 'the things themselves'. (Cf. his The Foundation of Phenomenology, Cambridge, Mass., 1943, pp. 202-3.) The word 'Sache' will, of course, be translated in other ways also.