Alfred Schutz on social reality and social science
It has taken American philosophers and social scientists thirty-five years to catch up with the early work of Alfred Schutz. HisDer sinnhafte Aufbau der sozialen Welt: eine Einleitung in die verstehende Soziologiewas first published in 1932. An English version has recently appeared under the title,The Phenomenology of the Social World.1It is clear that the German edition was closely studied by some of the ablest minds of the thirties and forties who were concerned with problems of the philosophy and methodology of the social sciences. References to Schutz's book appear in the writings of such thinkers as José Ortega y Gasset, Ludwig von Mises, Raymond Aron, and Felix Kaufmann. Although it is not unlikely that the English edition will be studied with equal care by American scholars, the fundamental assumptions of the European reader about the relevance of philosophy for social science have heretofore been rather different from those of his counterpart in the United States. Thus, for example, Ludwig von Mises, unlike most American economists, begins his treatise on economics,Human Action, with a substantial section on "The Epistemological Problem of a General Theory of Human Action." The fundamental assumption is that to be concerned with man in the social world is necessarily to explore the reality which underlies and characterizes "Man," the "Social," and "World." Philosophy is inescapable for the social scientist who seeks clarity and rigor in his work, who takes the term "discipline" seriously.
Natanson, M. (1970)., Alfred Schutz on social reality and social science, in M. Natanson (ed.), Phenomenology and social reality, Den Haag, Nijhoff, pp. 101-121.
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