Paul Ricœur and Alfred Schütz: Phenomenological Responses to Edmund Husserl’s Configuration of Social Reality

Document Type : Original Article


Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague (Oddělení Současné Kontinentální Filosofie,Filosofický Ustav AV ČR, Praha)


Human being is ontologically a relational being living with others in organized communities and institutions. By focusing on the intersubjective and collective levels of human experience, this essay considers the possibility of a critical dialogue between Paul Ricœur’s and Alfred Schütz’s phenomenological works in the direction of a renewed socio-phenomenological approach to social reality. Through reference to Ricœur’s interpretation of the most important of Husserl’s writing presented in his 1967 collection of essays entitled Husserl: An Analysis of His Phenomenology and Schütz’s masterpiece The Phenomenology of the Social World, this article will show a remarkable continuity and a coherent complementarity between these two authors. I begin with a broad framing of Husserl’s second epoché or reduction to the sphere of ownness as performed within the egological sphere, and then turn to Ricœur’s and Schütz’s critiques of the Husserlian conception of intersubjectivity. These reflections will lead us to discuss the inconsistency of Husserl’s idea of the intersubjective acceptance of the common objective nature and his formulation of the higher-order case of communal constitution.


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