Schutz wrote as follows on Sept. 6, 1954.
I found you monograph and letter. It is highly gratifying that you and your co-authors Mr. H. W. Bruck and Mr. Burton Sapin, found some of my ideas helpful for your splendid work. It means very much to me to see that your findings corroborate certain theoretical views proposed by me.
You asked for my comments. Not being competent in the particular fiend of the study of politics, I am restricting my comments to a few methodological points which struck me when studying your monograph.
You are right that more effective and explicit conceptualizations are needed in the field of international politics. I also agree that any interpretive scheme must meet certain tests as characterized by you on p. 5.
You refer to Nagel and Hempel’s contributions to the symposium of the APA in 1952 on concept and theory formation in the social sciences. I regret that I cannot endorse the findings of these eminent scholars. I am enclosing reprints of my criticism of their position.52
I am not sure whether your distinction between a general theory and a frame of reference is fully tenable. My point is just that any “frame of reference” presupposes already a general theory and is only workable as a part of it.
You refer to multiple realities, but on p. 10 you state, “to assume multiple realities is to assume that there is no one objective situation common in all respects to all the participants.”
In this formulation things are not quite correct.
To be sure, the views that the individual participants have of their situation must overlap, but this phenomenon can be explained by the subjective interpretation (or definition) of the situation by the participants even if there were no multiple realities. The paramount reality of everyday life in which alone communication is possible is indeed common to all of us, although experienced in individual (subjective) perspectives and adumbrations by each of us.
This is sufficient in order to explain why the same situation is differently defined and interpreted by the State Dept. and the Dept. of Defense.
The famous outside observer interprets the situation different[ly] than the disputants if he is not involved with his hopes and fears in the issue but adopts a disinterested theoretical attitude, which as such belongs to another realm of reality than the paramount one of everyday life.
I feel strongly that my remarks refer rather to the formulation chosen by you than to the underlying principle with which I find myself in full agreement.
On pp. 36–37: I think I understand and accept your thesis that state action is the action taken by those acting in the name of the state, [but] the next sentence: “Hence, the state is its decision makers” seems doubtful…
The “state” is also the chance that the citizens accept the decision made by the decision makers or, if you prefer, it is the political organization, called “State” which determines who is authorized to make decisions.
On p. 37 you refer to “perception” as one of the three features of orientation, but it could be taken in the restricted sense of “sensory perceptions” or, as it seems to be your intention, you mean “defining the situation.”
p. 57: the meaning of the words, “socially defined” in the definition of decision making is not quite clear to me.
Are the alternative projects (i.e. how to deal with the EDC [probably the European Defense Community]) really socially defined (namely defined by the social group which the decision makers represent)?
If they are, however, defined by the decision-makers themselves (who “are” the state), then the words “socially defined” might be redundant.
p. 63: I think I can understand the methodological assumption that no private citizen can be a member of the analytical unit unless he temporarily holds a (federal?) office. But the private citizen may and frequently does suggest alternatives not seen by the decision-makers which might or might not be accepted by them; example: Beardsley Ruhl’s “pay as you go” plan…