Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


The Normativity of Evidence and the Basic Norm of Phenomenology


Philosophy Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Social and Behavioral Sciences


In this paper I argue that Husserls phenomenological method is normative in two senses. Following Steven Crowell, I argue that evidentness [Evidenz] is a normative concept in Husserls phenomenology, but I expand upon Crowells argument by showing how evidentness is a standard of success and failure. The second way in which phenomenology is normative involves how the normativity of evidentness gets expressed in methodological guidelines for practicing phenomenology. In expressing the normative structure of evidence, the norms of phenomenology place a demand upon the phenomenologist. This jibes with Crowells argument about the ultimate self-responsibility of philosophy done in the first person, but I defuse a Husserlian counterargument that militates against this conception of philosophy. I show that while phenomenology is guided by a basic norm, it remains distinct from other practical disciplines because its basic norm demands that we obtain direct evidence of the truth of our propositions.

Conference Name

Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association

Conference Location

Vancouver BC Canada

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