Kurt Stavenhagen on the phenomenology of the we
In the last years, one can observe an increasing interest in phenomenological contributions to social ontology and collective or we-intentionality studies. Some of the accounts about we-intentionality that were developed especially within early phenomenology are currently in the process of being rediscovered, reevaluated and reassessed in the light of more recent debates. In this strand of research, the name of Kurt Stavenhagen has largely been neglected. This is unfortunate given that substantial parts of his philosophical production are devoted to foundational issues in the social sciences.The main aim of this paper is to contribute to this line of research by introducing Kurt Stavenhagen's work on social phenomenology and, in particular, his account of how communities can arise based on shared preferences (Stavenhagen calls communities formed in this way "charismatic unifications").Stavenhagen's ideas on social ontology are original and interesting at once. In fact, not only does he offer a description of we-experiences that in many ways is unprecedented within phenomenology, but also he provides an explanation for why individuals identify when they have coincident preferences. According to Stavenhagen, this explanation is to be sought in a difference between two forms of communities or unifications. According to him, "mediate" unifications (the kinds of we that arises from the individuals' mutual awareness of their overlapping preferences) are grounded in unifications of an "immediate" kind (these are I-Thou relations that rely on reciprocal friendly sentiments) in the sense that the former are weaker – i.e., not yet fully actualized – forms of the latter.
Salice, A. (2017)., Kurt Stavenhagen on the phenomenology of the we, in E. Magrì & D. Moran (eds.), Empathy, sociality, and personhood, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 179-192.
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