The Nature and Role of Phenomenological Psychology in Alfred Schutz
The essay reviews how phenomenological psychology can draw on Edmund Husserl's transcendental phenomenology in order to clarify the foundations of the cultural sciences and then explicates the theory of this psychology implicit in Schutz's oeuvre.
Max Weber has shown that all phenomena of the socio-cultural world originate in social interaction and can be referred to it. According to him, it is the central task of sociology to understand the meaning which the actor bestows on his action (the “subjective meaning” in his terminology). But what is action, what is meaning, and how is the understanding of such meaning by a fellow-man possible, be he a partner of the social interaction, or merely an observer in everyday life, or a social scientist? I submit that any attempt to answer these questions leads immediately to questions with which Husserl was concerned and which he has to a certain extent solved. (Schutz, 1962, p. 145)