Schutz’s Theory of Constitution

Philosophy Research Archives 13:63-71 (1987)
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Abstract

Alfred Schutz formulated his phenomenology with the aim of circumventing what he perceived to be the idealistic character of Husserl’s theory of meaning constitution. Schutz contended that constitution for Husserl was idealistically creationistic in the sense that the meanings and very being of phenomena were merely the created products of the constitutive acts of consciousness itself. This article argues, however, that Schutz’s theory of constitution is not without an idealistic character in that the meanings which consciousness constitutes and predicates to phenomena are simply created by consciousness itself. This argument is articulated through 1) a delineation of the basic principles of Schutz’s phenomenology, 2) an explication of his theory of constitution, and finally, 3) an exposition of its idealistic character with, by way of contrast, a brief account of how and why Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s existential phenomenology expunged all features of idealistic constitution.

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