Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

pp 1389-1402


  • Scott D. ChurchillAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Dallas Email author 


Phenomenology was born of Edmund Husserl’s epistemological project to found philosophical knowledge upon an indubitable basis. Wishing to overcome the pitfalls of any form of relativism (historical, sociological, psychological), Husserl looked to consciousness itself as the source and matrix of all knowledge. In his Logical Investigations, Husserl (1901/1968) issued forth what has come to be regarded as the “battle cry” of phenomenology: “we want to go back to the things themselves” – a challenge for phenomenologists to ground their ideas and concepts, like all good scientists, in evidence: Wir wollen auf “die Sachen selbst” zurückgehen … und wollen wir uns zur Evidenz bringen (p. 6). With this statement, Husserl was asserting that phenomenology must be evidence-based; in this manner, phenomenology would, for Husserl, become a “strict science.” The German expression die Sachen selbst refers less to “things” per se, and more appropriately to the “matters at hand” ...

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