On the Evidence and Description in Husserl’s Phenomenology

  • Tomas Sodeika
Keywords: Husserl, phenomenological reduction, evidence, description, writing


The aim of this article is to highlight the nature of the fundamental moments of phenomenological research, such as evidence and description, and the ambivalence of their relationship to each other. On the one hand, both evidence and description are related to Husserl’s attempt to ‘return to the things themselves’. Evidence is understood by the founder of phenomenology as a relation to an object in which the meaning of that object is given to us immediately in the object itself. Description, on the other hand, avoids what is characteristic of any interpretation-oriented methodology: the ‘substitution’ of an explanatory reconstruction for the object under study. A certain discrepancy between phenomenological evidence and phenomenological description becomes apparent when we take into account the reception of the text in which the experience of the evidence is described. What is usually overlooked is that an experience whose content is the text being read is not an experience whose content is the phenomenon described in the text. This confusion leads to a turning away from ‘the things themselves’ and a restriction of phenomenology to the realm of texts. The way to avoid this deformation is through a phenomenological reduction, which must be carried out not only by the phenomenologist-researcher but also by the reader of the texts that provide a description of phenomenological experience.