Evidence and the Aim of Cognitive Activity

Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 7)


An analysis of Husserl’s opus makes it quite clear that the phenomenon of evidence preoccupied his mind. His continuous interest found its expression in the various explorations formulated along with his intellectual development. In the first place it can be said that the phenomenon of evidence was germane to Husserl’s trend of thought and the structure of his philosophical thinking and system. If we take, in general terms, evidence to connote that which is actually present and conspicuous in the mind, consciousness or subject, as well as that which by its presence provides immediately the ground for holding a view or a position formulated in a proposition in the consciousness, or, to put it differently, a content or a proposition whose very presence implies its justification — the affinity between that phenomenon at large and Husserl’s own concern with it is telling. For a philosopher so much engaged in the analyses of contents which are given by themselves to consciousness — Selbstgebung — or those originally given to consciousness and thus given by consciousness, the reference to the phenomenon of evidence and to the historical explorations of that phenomenon appear to be built-in in the structure of Husserl’s own thinking. Husserl was concerned with the issue of certainty and presence, and thus he was led to refer to the phenomenon of evidence and therefore to explore it.


Cognitive Activity Absolute Certainty Regulative Principle Cartesian Meditation Pure Intuition 
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  1. 1.
    Edmund Husserl: Ideen zu einer reinen Phaenomenologie und phaenomenologischen Philosophic, Herausgegeben von Walter Biemel, Band III, Husserliana, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1950. The pages in the text in this section of the paper refer to that edition.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Formale und Transzendentale Logik — Versuch einer Kritik der logischen Vernunft von Edmund Hasserl. Halle (Saale): Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1929. All the references in this part of our exploration are to that text.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Edmund Husserl: Cartesian Meditations — an Introduction to Phenomenology, translated by Dorion Cairns (Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1960 ). The references in this part of our analysis are to this translation which has been amended here and there, following the original text.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kr.d.r.V. B. p. 537. Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, translated by Norman Kemp Smith, St. Martin’s Press, New York, Macmillan, Toronto; 1965, p. 539.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    The “regulative” role of the eidos in Husserlian phenomenology has been presented by A.-T. Tymieniecka, ‘Idea and the constitutive a priori’, Kantstudien.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ideen, p. 170–171.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ibid., p. 201–202.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kr.d.r.V. B. p. 383; transl. p. 318.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ibid., B 649; ibid., p. 518.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    On the issue dealt with here consult: the chapter ‘Immanenz und Transzendenz’ in: Rudolf Boehm, Vom Gesichtspunkt der Phänomenologie, Husserl-Studien, (Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague) 1968, pp. 141 ff.Google Scholar
  11. Consult also the present author’s: ‘Ambiguities of Husserl’s Notion of Constitution’, included in Phenomenology and Natural Existence, State University of New York Press, 1973, pp. 151 ff. See also the present author’s; ‘Between Persuasion and Deeds’, in: Essays on Wiltgenstein, In Honour of G. H. von Wright, North-Holland Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1976, pp. 485 ff. as well as: ‘Exposition of Intuition and Phenomenology’, International Studies in Philosophy 9, 1977, pp. 43 ff.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Hebrew University of JerusalemIsrael

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