Herbert_Spiegelberg_and_Alfred_Schutz_So.pdf - Human HERBERT Studies 27:SPIEGELBERG 169\u2013185 2004 AND ALFRED SCHUTZ SOME AFFINITIES \u00a9 2004 Kluwer

Herbert_Spiegelberg_and_Alfred_Schutz_So.pdf - Human...

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169 Human Studies 27 : 169–185, 2004. © 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands. Herbert Spiegelberg and Alfred Schutz: Some Affinities MAREK CHOJNACKI ul. Szkolna 21, 05-080 Izabelin, Poland (E-mail: [email protected]) What may at first sight strike any reader of Herbert Spiegelberg’s history of phenomenology, known to literally every student versed in the discipline, is a strange paradox: a solemn dedication at the first page of the book to “the memory of Alfred Schutz, one of the brightest hopes for an authentic phenom- enology in the United States,” compared with a relatively small fragment of Spiegelberg’s book concerning Schutz’s phenomenology (Spiegelberg, 1994, pp. 255–256). Yet even in this fragment, which touches only slightly upon the kernel of Schutz’s sociophenomenological thinking, we find essential indi- cations concerning the profound affinity of both thinkers, both engaged in a challenging endeavor of laying cornerstones of American phenomenology. The idea of this paper is to explore basic proposals of both thinkers and to shed light on their mutual relationship and their impact on phenomenology and theoretical sociology – an impact that can only become greater in the future. Spiegelberg notes that Schutz, by “securing the philosophic foundations of Max Weber’s sociology,” explores “the ‘multiple realities’ or ‘worlds’ in which we find ourselves embedded, from the world of our everyday life to the world of dreams, thus showing how social actors, with their various ex- periences, “play music together” (Spiegelberg, 1994, pp. 255–256). Thus, he sets the philosophical foundations of sociology on the solid ground of his specific understanding of Husserl’s phenomenology, an understanding that rejects “Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology of intersubjectivity as in- adequate” and chooses instead to focus on “mundane phenomenology” (Spiegel- berg, 1994, p. 256), offering a more direct approach to intersubjectivity: a careful study of intersubjectively given and created phenomena, based on bracketing doubts and convictions concerning reality, and on a specific understanding of Husserl’s epoché . The latter question – interpretation of Husserl’s key notion of epoché appears to be fundamental to both thinkers, and seems crucial for the im- pact of phenomenology on sociological theorizing, especially in Schutz. Spiegelberg – more philosophical in his approach – follows Alexander Pfänder in understanding phenomenological epoché – the basic methodological op- eration in phenomenology – as a means of preventing premature assertions of knowledge, and as a continuous effort of grasping things as they are and as they appear, which has principally nothing to do with any “reduction” of cognitive
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170 MAREK CHOJNACKI data to a sheer ensemble of ideas or appearances, or with “Cartesian withdrawal from reality” (Spiegelberg, 1981a, p. 55). By promoting a provisional approach to any complex set of convictions or assertions and an attitude of balancing accounts, Spiegelberg stresses the social process of positing things as real and thus approaches the sphere of sociological reflection. This particular
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