Ontological Foundations of Alfred Schutz's Phenomenology of Intersubjectivity
Keywords:Ontology, Phenomenology, Intersubjectivity, Subuniverses, Life-World
One of the greatest phenomenologist, Edmund Husserl, introduced to
phenomenology the idea of transcendental intersubjectivity which
centres on the problem of other minds and the possibility of knowing the
consciousness of the alter ego. Schutz differed from Husserl on the idea of
transcendental constitution of consciousness. For Schutz,
intersubjectivity is not a problem of constitution which can be solved
within the transcendental sphere but a datum of the life-world. Hence, his
phenomenology is that of the natural attitude, the state of consciousness
in which we accept the reality of everyday life as a given.
Schutz'sintersubjectivity is the form of human existence which takes for
granted the existence of other conscious egos within the common world.
His argument is that human existence is defined by human actions in the
world within the framework of time. Commentators on Schutz's
intersubjectivity have largely read him as a social phenomenologist
neglecting his deeply ontological foundations. Against this, the paper
argues that the ontology of time is the basic foundation upon which
Schutz's understanding of intersubjectivity is based. This is because time
constitutes the basic phenomena of the life-world and orders human
activities in this world; not as the private world of individuals but
an intersubjective world.
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