Sartre was strongly attracted by what he had heard about German phenomenology. Raymond Aron was spending a year at the French Institute in Berlin and studying Husserl simultaneously with preparing a historical thesis. When he came to Paris he spoke of Husserl to Sartre. We spent an evening together at the Bec de Gaz in the Rue Montparnasse. We ordered the speciality of the house, apricot cocktails; Aron said, pointing to his glass: "You see, my dear fellow, if you are a phenomenologist, you can talk about this cocktail and make philosophy out of it!" Sartre turned pale with emotion at this. Here was just the thing he had been longing to achieve for years-to describe objects just as he saw and touched them, and extract philosophy from the process. (Simone de Beauvoir, The Prime of Life, p. 112).
The essay reviews how phenomenological psychology can draw on Edmund Husserl's transcendental phenomenology in order to clarify the foundations of the cultural sciences and then explicates the theory of this psychology implicit in Schutz's oeuvre.Max Weber has shown that all phenomena of the socio-cultural world originate in social interaction and can be referred to it. According to him, it is the central task of sociology to understand the meaning which the actor bestows on his action (the “subjective meaning” in his terminology). But what is action, what is meaning, and how is the understanding of such meaning by a fellow-man possible, be he a partner of the social interaction, or merely an observer in everyday life, or a social scientist? I submit that any attempt to answer these questions leads immediately to questions with which Husserl was concerned and which he has to a certain extent solved. (Schutz, 1962, p. 145)