Eidetic Variation: a Self‐Correcting and Integrative Account

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Edmund Husserl’s eidetic phenomenology seeks a priori knowledge of essences and eidetic laws pertaining to conscious experience and its objects. Husserl believes that such eidetic knowledge has a higher epistemic status than the inherently fallible empirical knowledge, but a closer reading of his work shows that even eidetic claims are subject to error and open to modification. In this article, I develop a self-correcting account of Husserl’s method of eidetic variation, arguing that eidetic variation plays a critical role in both challenging and improving upon the eidetic results in phenomenology. More specifically, I argue that the self-correcting account of eidetic variation 1) is consistent with Husserl’s own formulations of his eidetic methodology and epistemic principles; 2) captures the dual epistemic function of eidetic variation as means for both testing and intuitively validating eidetic claims; and 3) offers methodological support for contemporary attempts to integrate eidetic variation with non-eidetic methods and resources. To substantiate these claims, I first contrast the self-correcting account with the falsificationist interpretations of eidetic variation. Then, I turn to three applications of eidetic variation in order to examine how eidetic phenomenology could draw from real-life deviations, artificial variations, and critical–historical reflection. The goal is to lay the methodological groundwork for a self-correcting and integrative account of eidetic variation and illustrate its usefulness in research practice.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • clarification
  • Edmund Husserl
  • eidetic knowledge
  • eidetic variation
  • fallibilism
  • falsification
  • integrating methods
  • intuition
  • justification
  • phenomenological methodology

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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