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Working paper

Alfred Schütz's Sociology as a Naive Science

Humanities. HUM. Basic Research Programme, 2015. No. WP BRP 93/HUM/2015.
Alfred Schütz has paid considerable attention to the position of scientist in the world and particularly to that of social scientist. His analyses make extensive use of phenomenological concepts and contain detailed descriptions of scientific cognitive style in its relation to the everyday life. However, Schütz is surprisingly silent on the motives that could justify quitting the ordinary 'world of working' and entering the scientific attitude. This paper discusses whether the Schütz normative justification for science can be deduced from Husserl's philosophy of science. It is argued that despite the fact that Schütz was in fact considerably influenced by Husserl's system of science suggested in 'Ideas II', the two thinkers diverge radically on the cultural mission and methodology of science. While Husserl advocates the critical method of reduction as the sole way to pursue genuine science, Schütz in fact explores the possibility of building a 'naive science'. He accepts relying on ordinary knowledge in social science and ends up by rejecting the methodology of reduction in general. Schütz's opposition to the idea of science contained in Husserl's phenomenology, together with his neglect of normative grounding of science, suggest that he considered the value of science as laying beyond rational philosophical justification