NONTHEMATIC / Vol. 35, No. 2 (Summer 1968)
It has taken American philosophers and social scientists thirty five years to catch up with the early work of Alfred Schutz. His Der sinnhafte Aufbau der sozialen Welt: eine Einleitung in die verstehende Soziologie was first published in 1932. An English version has recently appeared under the title, The Phenomenology of the Social World. It is clear that the German edition was closely studied by some of the ablest minds of the thirties and forties who were concerned with problems of the philosophy and methodology of the social sciences.
During his lifetime Edmund Husserl did not publish any of his extensive treatments of the human person, the historical world, and the historical sciences. Indeed, apart from brief and wildly scattered references, the first intimations of Husserl’s interest in these subjects to appear in print were contained in Transcendental Philosophy and the Crisis in the European Sciences, Part I, which was published in Belgrade, 1936, just two years before his death. Between 1901, the year in which the first volume of the Logical Investigations appeared and, and 1939, a tendency developed among commenters and phenomenology to regard Husserl as a fundamentally ahistorical philosopher, as having -in contrast to Heidegger, for example, no interest in relevance for the philosophy of history.
We live, as is now notorious in the age of anxiety. One way or another, we are implicated in the disturbing and various strands of a crisis engendered by the decay of reason. My own formulation of this crisis, by no means original with me, is that it has been caused by a long decay in our understanding of the meaning of “reason.”
It is a conspicuous fact that sociology has not paid much attention to the phenomenon of joking. To the knowledge of the present writer there exists no systematic sociological analysis of jokes and joking, like that for instance given by Sigmund Freud is the frame of reference of his psychoanalysis. This sociological neglect of such an important anthropological phenomenon is striking mainly for two reasons that are detailed in this essay.
Starting with the 26th of July movement that seized control of Havana, this article details the revolution and its ability to survive because of the firmness, confidence, and intelligence of its leaders, and because the great majority of Cubans want it to survive. “Leadership,” G.D.H. Cole once wrote, “is essential to make a class an effective agent of social development. But if classes need constructive leadership, leaders are nothing unless they are able to place themselves at the head of forces upon which the objective situation confers the opportunity of real power.” This brief passage catches the situation in Cuba from just the right perspective.
We confront a paradox. Never before has Marxism been so influential upon bourgeois sociology (which we may define as sociology as practised by bourgeois professors who are not Marxists, in contradistinction to their -no less bourgeois- colleagues who are Marxists,) never before has it been analyzed, criticized, and discussed so extensively.
Review of book by Helmut Steiner. Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1967. 269 pp.
Review of book edited by Harry Shafer. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1967. 558 pp.
[Review of book by Wilhelm Fucks]Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1966. 220 pp.
Review of book by Georges Friedman. Translated by Eric Mosbacher. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Company 1967. 307 pp.
Review of book by Nils Andren. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1967. 212 pp.
Review of book edited by Richard Scharz. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co., 1967. 2 vols., 810 and 885 pp.