Maurice Natanson, “Alfred Schutz: Philosopher and Social Scientist”

Aron Gurwitsch’s critique of Schutz’s essay “The Stranger” is the starting point for this consideration of Schutz’s relationship with phenomenology. This relationship is based on Schutz’s emphasis on the value of the “average” as a phenomenological structure. In opposing sociology to philosophy, Gurwitsch takes this value as inferior in comparison with what he sees as cardinal issues of transcendental phenomenology. What Gurwitsch finds incompatible with phenomenological inquiry the idea and practice of the natural attitude within the social sphere Schutz turns into the core of his philosophy. “The phenomenology of the natural attitude” is as essentially philosophical as any reflectively practiced human science. The problem of how everydayness is constituted requires a phenomenological insight that leads the explorer through reconstructing the meaning in terms of the mundane – straight to the origin.

Source: Human Studies 21.1 (Jan 1998): 1-12

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