December 15, 2010

Schütz on Objectivity and Spontaneous Orders

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Although Schütz's relationship with the Austrian school of economics was an intimate one, Lavoie and other Austrian scholars have challenged (a) Schütz's characterization of praxeology as an objective science of subjective phenomena and (b) the ability of Schütz's phenomenology, which emphasizes the subjective meaning of actors, to really make sense of spontaneous social orders. It is my contention, however, that Schütz can be adequately defended against both these charges. First, for Schütz, the claim that social science is an objective science of subjective phenomena need not imply apodictic apriorism nor solipsism. Second, in spite of his emphasis on subjective meanings, the study of spontaneous social orders need not be difficult to to justify.

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