Alfred Schutz and the Project of Phenomenological Social Theory

  • David Carr
Part of the Contributions to Phenomenology book series (CTPH, volume 16)


A discussion of Schutz’ phenomenological approach to social theory leads me to some fundamental doubts about his project. Is phenomenology’s central concept, intentionality, conducive to the task of understanding relations among persons? My doubts are expressed through a historical account: I claim the concept of intentionality was devised as a response to questions about the relation between human experience and nature. Applying it to social relations, I argue, may be a case of employing it outside its proper sphere.


Intentional Object Modern Philosophy Intentional Relation Causal Principle Causal Order 
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  1. 1.
    Alfred Schutz, The Phenomenology of the Social World, translated by G. Walsh and F. Lehnert (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1967), 97. (Hereafter PSR) Collected Papers II: Studies in Social Reality, edited by A. Broderson (The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1964), 25. (Hereafter CP II).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Worldly Phenomenology: The Continuing Influence of Alfred Schutz on North American Human Science, edited by Lester Embree (Washington: Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology and University Press of America, 1988).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, translated by D. Carr (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1970), 75–78.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    David Carr, Interpreting Husserl (Dordrecht: M. Nijhoff Publishers, 1987), 45ff.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Alfred Schutz, Collected Papers III: Studies in Phenomenological Philosophy, edited by I. Schutz (The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1967), 82.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
  7. 7.
  8. 7.
  9. 9.
  10. 10.
    CP II, 159ff.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Carr
    • 1
  1. 1.Emory UniversityUSA

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