§ 7. The Phenomenological Method of the Investigation
With the preliminary characterization of the thematic object of the investigation (the being of beings, or the meaning of being in general) its method too would appear to be already prescribed. The task of ontology is to set in relief the being of beings and to explicate being itself. And the method of ontology remains questionable in the highest degree as long as we wish merely to consult historically transmitted ontologies or similar efforts. Since the term ontology is used in a formally broad sense for this investigation, the approach of clarifying its method by tracing the history of that method is automatically precluded.
In using the term ontology we do not specify any particular philosophical discipline standing in relation to others. It should not at all be our task to satisfy the demands of any established discipline. On the contrary, such a discipline can be developed only from the objective necessity of particular questions and procedures demanded by the "things themselves."
With the guiding question of the meaning of being the investigation arrives at the fundamental question of philosophy in general. The treatment of this question is phenomenological. With this term the treatise dictates for itself neither a "standpoint" nor a "direction," because phenomenology is neither of these and can never be as long as it understands itself. The expression "phenomenology" signifies primarily a concept of method. It does not characterize the what of the objects of philosophical research in terms of their content, but the how of such research. The more genuinely effective a concept of method is and the more comprehensively it determines the fundamental conduct of a science, the more originally is it rooted in confrontation with the things themselves and the farther away it moves from what we call a technical device-of which there are many in the theoretical disciplines.
The term "phenomenology" expresses a maxim that can be formulated:  "To the things themselves!" It is opposed to all free-floating constructions and accidental findings; it is also opposed to taking over concepts only seemingly demonstrated; and likewise to pseudo-questions which often are spread abroad as "problems" for generations. But one might object that this maxim is, after all, abundantly self-evident and, moreover, an expression of the principle of all scientific knowledge. It is not clear why this commonplace should be explicitly put in the title of our research. In fact, we are dealing with "something self-evident" which we want to get closer to, insofar as that is important for the clarification of the procedure in our treatise. We shall explicate only the preliminary concept of phenomenology. The expression has two components: phenomenon and logos. Both go back to the Greek terms φαινόμενον and λόγος. Viewed extrinsically,