The Phenomenology of the Social World

by Alfred Schutz

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

In The Phenomenology of the Social World, Schutz uses a philosophical approach to develop his own theory of the meaning of life and the human response to it. He was inspired by Max Weber’s sociological theories but felt they were in complete. Schutz had gone to several lectures by Weber, and spends a chapter both praising Weber and pointing out where he believes his ideas were lacking. Using phenomenology, which is the study of how things appear to be rather than an explanation of what they are, Schutz examined what a human experience is and is comprised of, and how human experiences and memories differ from person to person. He also discussed the freedom humans have to make their own future and how this works in different people, in part due to our past experiences.

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