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Phenomenology of the Social World (Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy) Paperback – September 1, 1967
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"In this book, his major work, Alfred Schutz attempts to provide a sound philosophical bases for the sociological theories of Max Weber [...] Using Husserlian phenomenology, Schutz provide a complete and original analysis of human action and its "intended meaning". [..] In the process he offers a possible answer to a fundamental question - whether the social sciences can provide genuine understanding of human beings"
After having read it I can only agree with the above. In my opinion this is a masterpiece of social philosophy. The questions which this book touches upon are the ones always lurking in the back of every social scientist, namely the epistemological status of the science as such. The great thing about this book is that it, unlike any other I have read, manages to pinpoint this questions and sketch a possible answer to most of them.
The book is, as the quote points out, based upon the phenomenology of Hussrl. Now, this might scare away many people familiar with the writings of Hussrl or Heidegger, but no need to worry.
Upon its release in 1932 Schutz sent a dedicated copy of the book to Hussrl whom replied "I am anxious to meet such a serious and thorough phenomenologist, one of the few who have penetrated to the core of the meaning of my life's work, access to which is unfortunately so difficult .."
This then is exactly what Schutz have managed, namely to produce an easy access/introduction to the profound thoughts of Hussrl.
This book is written with great rigour, but without ever loosing clarity or direction. It reads easy for anyone customed to reading philosophical essays. The translation from german I think was very well done.Read more ›
Unfortunately most of the people who claimed to advocate Husserl's phenomenology have never had the approppriate academic and intellectual background to understand Husserl in his own terms. Schutz is a similar philosopher/sociologist which to a large degree came with substantial experience in the real world and broadly as an intellectual. This makes Schutz a probable difficult read for people not having a comparable breadth of experience or intellectual scope. I believe that he is entirely worth the effort. I would largely ignore Aron Gurvitch's over-write of the manuscript left by Schutz unfinished.Read more ›