About this topic
Summary Social ontology studies the metaphysics of social phenomena. Topics include the nature of groups, collective action, and social construction. Social metaphysics is important for other areas of philosophy, including critical feminist and race theory, moral collective responsibility, and action theory.
Key works An early and prominent account of social construction can be found in Searle 1995, and a highly influential discussion of social construction is contained in Haslanger 2012. Accounts of collective action are in Gilbert 1989 and Tuomela 1995. A recent and important general metaphysics of the social world is presented in Epstein 2015.
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Haslanger 2000Tuomela 2005Epstein 2017.

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  1. Organizations as Wrongdoers: From Ontology to Morality, by Stephanie Collins. [REVIEW]Kenneth Silver - 2024 - Ethics 134 (4):573-578.
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  2. Discriminatory Types and Homogenising Relevances: A Schutzian Perspective on Oppression.Tris Hedges & Sabrina De Biasio - 2024 - Human Studies:1-22.
    In this paper, we draw on Alfred Schutz’s theoretical framework to better understand how oppression is enacted through discriminatory acts. By closely examining the role of typifications and relevances in our experience of others, and by supplementing this analysis with contemporary social scientific resources, we argue that a Schutzian perspective on oppression yields important phenomenological insights. We do this in three key steps. Firstly, we contextualise Equality and the Meaning Structure of the Social World within Schutz’s broader body of work, (...)
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  3. L’etica del cambiamento climatico alla prova dell’inefficacia causale individuale: Discutendo la libertà collettiva di emissione di gas serra rispetto all’obiettivo di 1.5°C.Fausto Corvino & Alberto Pirni - 2022 - Rivista di Estetica 80 (2):165-186.
    In this article we address the so-called argument of «individual causal inefficacy» (ICI), according to which CO2-emission-generating actions are morally neutral with regards to climate change, in so far as, taken in their singularity, they are neither sufficient nor necessary to cause climate change. In the first part, we address the main substantive objection to ICI: if a single emission, analysed in isolation, does not cause any disutility, it is impossible to explain why climate change (which is the result of (...)
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  4. Climate Change, the Non-identity Problem, and the Metaphysics of Transgenerational Actions.Tiziana Andina & Fausto Corvino - 2023 - In Pellegrino Gianfranco & Marcello Di Paola (eds.), Handbook of Philosophy of Climate Change. Springer Nature. pp. 663-684.
    Why should one take action to move toward a greener world if doing so will cause the birth of a totally different group of future people? This chapter starts from the metaphysical evidence that many collective climate actions imply a change in the identity of future generations, as opposed to a counterfactual laissez-faire attitude. The climatic fallout from the non-identity paradox introduced by Derek Parfit is examined to determine if and how a principle of transgenerational responsibility can be defended against (...)
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  5. Transgenerational Social Structures and Fictional Actors: Community-Based Responsibility for Future Generations.Tiziana Andina & Fausto Corvino - 2023 - The Monist 106 (2):150-164.
    The notion of transgenerational community is usually based on two diachronic interactions. The first interaction consists of present generations taking up the legacy (not only economic, but also institutional, artistic, cultural, and so forth) of past generations and giving it continuity, exercising a form of active agency. The second interaction occurs when present generations pass on their legacy to future generations. This is supposed to expand the boundaries of the community in a transgenerational sense (both backward- and forward-looking). In this (...)
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  6. Disagreement about the kind law.Muhammad Ali Khalidi & Liam Murphy - 2020 - Jurisprudence 12 (1):1-16.
    This paper argues that the disagreement between positivists and nonpositivists about law is substantive rather than merely verbal, but that the depth and persistence of the disagreement about law, unlike for the case of morality, threatens skepticism about law. The range of considerations that can be brought to bear to help resolve moral disagreements is broader than is the case for law, thus improving the prospects of reconciliation in morality. But the central argument of the paper is that law, unlike (...)
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  7. Metaphors of Intersectionality: Framing the Debate with a New Image.Maria Rodó-Zárate & Marta Jorba - 2020 - European Journal of Women's Studies.
    Whereas intersectionality presents a fruitful framework for theoretical and empirical research, some of its fundamental features present great confusion. The term ‘intersectionality’ and its metaphor of the crossroads seem to reproduce what it aims to avoid: conceiving categories as separate. Despite the attempts for developing new metaphors that illustrate the mutual constitution relation among categories, gender, race or class keep being imagined as discrete units that intersect, mix or combine. Here we identify two main problems in metaphors: the lack of (...)
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  8. Ontology, Experience, and Social Death: On Frank Wilderson's Afropessimism.Patrick O'Donnell - 2020 - APA Newsletter on Philosophy and the Black Experience 20 (1).
    This is a long critical discussion of Frank Wilderson's Afropessimism, focusing primarily on Wilderson's claim that Blackness is equivalent to Slaveness. The article draws out some strengths of the book, but argues that the book's central arguments often rest on shaky methodological, metaphysical, epistemic, and political grounds. Along the way, we consider some complications endemic to the project of evaluating a text so clearly geared towards Black audiences from the perspective of a non-Black reader.
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  9. The Metaphysics of Legal Organisations.Rachael Mellin - 2020 - In Rachael Mellin, Raimo Tuomela & Miguel Garcia-Godinez (eds.), Social Ontology, Normativity and Law. Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter. pp. 159-178.
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  10. Corona e communis: imunidade, comunidade e o COVID-19.Maurício Fernando Pitta - 2020 - Voluntas: Revista Internacional de Filosofia 11:e32.
    Diante da pandemia do Novo Coronavírus, muitos foram os problemas levantados pela filosofia a partir do modo “imunitário” com o qual a civilização industrial lidou com a crise, e muito tem sido aventado sobre a necessidade de se repensar o sentido da noção de comunidades de apoio e de resistência. Exemplos disso não faltam; dentre os filósofos que abordaram a crise, encontram-se desde Giorgio Agamben a Paul B. Preciado, entre outros. Neste artigo, pretendemos partir da discussão sobre imunologia e paradigma (...)
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  11. Social Ontology. Emotional Sharing as the Foundation of Care Relationships.Guido Cusinato - 2018 - In S. Bourgault & E. Pulcini, Emotions and Care: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Peeters.
    The origin of the concept of “emotional sharing” can be traced back to the first edition of Sympathiebuch [1913/23], in which Max Scheler paved the way to a phenomenology of emotions and to social ontology. The importance of his findings is evident: consider the central role of emotional sharing in Michael Tomasello’s analysis and the lively debate on social ontology and collective intentionality.
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  12. Instituutioiden olemassaolosta eli filosofinen saunailta Searlen ja Hegelin seurassa.Heikki Ikäheimo - 2005 - In Jussi Kotkavirta (ed.), Muoto ja metodi. pp. 163-173.
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  13. Phi Beta Kappa Romanell Lectures.Marilyn Frye - manuscript
    Phi Beta Kappa Romanell Lectures, given at Michigan State University, February 2008.
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  14. David Braybrooke, ed., Social Rules: Origin; Character; Logic; Change. [REVIEW]Raimo Tuomela - 1997 - Philosophy in Review 17:3-5.
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  15. Raimo Tuomela, The Philosophy of Social Practices: A Collective Acceptance View Reviewed by.Theodore R. Schatzki - 2003 - Philosophy in Review 23 (6):409-411.
  16. Tuomela, Raimo, The Philosophy of Social Practices – A Collective Acceptance View, Cambridge University Press, 2002, 274 pp. + xi. [REVIEW]Thomas Søbirk Petersen - 2005 - SATS 6 (1).
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Approaches to Social Ontology
  1. The Importance of Realism about Gender Kinds: Lessons from Beauvoir.Theodore Bach - 2023 - Analyse & Kritik 45 (2):269-295.
    Beauvoir’s The Second Sex stands out as a master class in the accommodation of conceptual and inferential practices to real, objective gender kinds. Or so I will argue. To establish this framing, we will first need in hand the kind of scientific epistemology that correctly reconciles epistemic progress and error, particularly as pertains to the unruly social sciences. An important goal of the paper is to develop that epistemological framework and unlock its ontological implications for the domain of gender. As (...)
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  2. Reality and Semiosis.Marc Champagne - 2022 - In Jamin Pelkey (ed.), Bloomsbury Semiotics Volume 1: History and Semiosis. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 129–147.
    This chapter investigates whether signs and their action, semiosis, are real. It critically surveys three arguments. The first argument consists in holding that semiosis must be real, because denying the reality of signs is self-defeating. This self-confirming status seems to imply that semiosis is the very means by which we partition the mind-independent and mind-dependent. One would then need to clarify this ontological neutrality or priority. The second argument consists in identifying an instance of sign-action that is mind-independent. Instead of (...)
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  3. Motivating a Pragmatic Approach to Naturalized Social Ontology.Richard Lauer - 2022 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 53 (4):403–419.
    Recent contributions to the philosophy of the social sciences have motivated ontological commitments using appeals to the social sciences (_naturalized_ social ontologies). These arguments rely on social scientific realism about the social sciences, the view that our social scientific theories are approximately true. I apply a distinction formulated in metaontology between ontologically loaded and unloaded meanings of existential quantification to argue that there is a pragmatic approach to naturalized social ontology that is minimally realist (it treats existence claims as true (...)
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  4. Aspiration and Self-Realization: The Ameliorative Projects of Steve Biko.David Miguel Gray - 2023 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences (2):142-162.
    Work on the conceptual amelioration of race concepts is usually negative or critical: it uncovers social features that contribute to racial hierarchies. Much less focus has been placed on how ameliorative accounts contribute to positive change. Using an account of race developed by Steve Biko during South African apartheid, I will argue that we can extract a novel account of positive amelioration in which racial categories can have normative or aspirational force, contributing to positive change.
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  5. Same-tracking real kinds in the social sciences.Theodore Bach - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-26.
    The kinds of real or natural kinds that support explanation and prediction in the social sciences are difficult to identify and track because they change through time, intersect with one another, and they do not always exhibit their properties when one encounters them. As a result, conceptual practices directed at these kinds will often refer in ways that are partial, equivocal, or redundant. To improve this epistemic situation, it is important to employ open-ended classificatory concepts, to understand when different research (...)
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  6. What the Right to Eduation Is, and What It Ought to Be : Towards a Social Ontology of Eduction as a Human Right.Christian Norefalk - 2022 - Dissertation, Malmö University
    During the second half of the 20th century education has been recognized as a human right in several international conventions, and the UN also holds that “Education shall be free” and that “Elementary education shall be compulsory” (UN, 1948, Article 26). The education-as-a-human right-project could be viewed as a good intention of global inclusion in recognizing that all individuals have a right to education in virtue of being humans, and the idea of education as a human right thus has a (...)
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  7. Ontology of plays for autonomous teaming and collaboration.David Kasmier, Eric Merrell, Robert Kelly, Barry Smith, Curtis Heisey, Donald Evan Maki, Marc Brittain, Ronald Ankner & Kevin Bush - 2021 - Proceedings of the 14Th Seminar on Ontology Research in Brazil (Ontobras 2021), Ceur 3050, 9-22.
    We propose a domain-level ontology of plays for the facilitation of play-based collaborative autonomy among unmanned and manned-unmanned aircraft teams in the Army’s Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) mission domain. We define a play as a type of plan that prescribes some pattern of intentional acts that are intended to reliably result in some goal in some competitive context, and which specifies one or more roles that are realized by those prescribed intentional acts. The ontology is well suited to be extended (...)
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  8. Filosofia e Direito: Estudos.Daniel Pires Nunes, Jayme Paviani & Gabriel Guilherme Frigo - 2020 - Caxias do Sul - Galópolis, Caxias do Sul - RS, Brasil: EDUCS.
    “O estudo de questões jurídicas, em seus aspectos filosóficos, é um modo de compreender um dos fenômenos mais completos da vida humana, da vida em sociedade, embora os aspectos legais sejam diferentes em cada grupo social. Nesse sentido, Filosofia e Direito: estudos é uma contribuição que serve para aprofundar a presença jurídica de bases filosóficas. É preciso recordar que as distinções servem para a compreensão humana e para melhor entender a unidade dos fenômenos. Enquanto a ciência estuda os aspectos dogmáticos (...)
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  9. Beyond team-directed reasoning: participatory intentions contribute to a theory of collective agency.Duijf Hein - 2017 - Logique Et Analyse.
    Philosophical accounts of collective intentionality typically rely on members to form a personal intention of sorts, viewed as a mental state. This tendency is opposed by recent economic literature on team-directed reasoning, which focuses on the reasoning process leading up to the formation of the members’ intentions. Our formal analysis bridges these paradigms and criticizes the team- directed reasoning account on two counts: first, team-directed reasoning is supposed to transcend traditional game and decision theory by adopting a certain collectivistic reasoning (...)
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  10. Searle on Collectively Intending Symbolic Social Institutional Status.Dale Jacquette - 2014 - Balkan Journal of Philosophy 6 (1):21-32.
    Searle’s social ontology is criticized on two grounds: (1) that Searle’s arguments do not adequately support his commitment to logically and conceptually irreducible collective-to-individual intentionality, and (2) his formulation of the constitutive rule of collective intentionality conferring symbolic social status on intended objects does not express the required concept as clearly, unequivocally, or economically as available alternatives. Two corresponding positive recommendations are offered in response to both criticisms for developing a conservatively improved neo-Searlean philosophy of social phenomena,practices and institutions.
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  11. Anchoring versus Grounding: Reply to Schaffer.Brian Epstein - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):768-781.
    In his insightful and challenging paper, Jonathan Schaffer argues against a distinction I make in The Ant Trap (Epstein 2015) and related articles. I argue that in addition to the widely discussed “grounding” relation, there is a different kind of metaphysical determination I name “anchoring.” Grounding and anchoring are distinct, and both need to be a part of full explanations of how facts are metaphysically determined. Schaffer argues instead that anchoring is a species of grounding. The crux of his argument (...)
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  12. The Genuine Possibility of Being-with: Watsuji, Heidegger, and the Primacy of Betweenness.Carolyn Culbertson - 2019 - Tandf: Comparative and Continental Philosophy 11 (1):7-18.
  13. Social Ontology.Brian Epstein - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Social ontology is the study of the nature and properties of the social world. It is concerned with analyzing the various entities in the world that arise from social interaction. -/- A prominent topic in social ontology is the analysis of social groups. Do social groups exist at all? If so, what sorts of entities are they, and how are they created? Is a social group distinct from the collection of people who are its members, and if so, how is (...)
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  14. John Searle: Od aktów mowy do rzeczywistości społecznej.Barry Smith - 2003 - Roczniki Filozoficzne 51 (1):265-292.
    Polish translation of "John Searle: From Speech Acts to Social Reality", -/- We provide an overview of Searle's contributions to speech act theory and the ontology of social reality, focusing on his theory of constitutive rules. In early versions of this theory, Searle proposed that all such rules have the form 'X counts as Y in context C' formula – as for example when Barack Obama (X) counts as President of the United States (Y) in the context of US political (...)
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  15. Language and society.Frank Hindriks - 2011 - In Ian Jarvie Jesus Zamora Bonilla (ed.), The Sage Handbook of the Philosophy of Social Sciences. pp. 137.
  16. Social reality.Finn Collin - 1997 - New York: Routledge.
    Social reality is a key problem in the philosophy of social science. Outlining the major historical and contemporary issues raised by the social reality and social facts, this book has something to offer both philosophers and social scientists. To the former is shows how the well-worn topic of realism versus anti-realism assumes new and interestingly varied forms when social reality is substituted for physical reality. For the social scientist, the book offers conceptual clarification of key issues in recent social science (...)
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  17. Ontological individualism reconsidered.Brian Epstein - 2009 - Synthese 166 (1):187-213.
    The thesis of methodological individualism in social science is commonly divided into two different claims—explanatory individualism and ontological individualism. Ontological individualism is the thesis that facts about individuals exhaustively determine social facts. Initially taken to be a claim about the identity of groups with sets of individuals or their properties, ontological individualism has more recently been understood as a global supervenience claim. While explanatory individualism has remained controversial, ontological individualism thus understood is almost universally accepted. In this paper I argue (...)
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  18. Artificial institutions: A model of institutional reality for open multiagent systems. [REVIEW]Nicoletta Fornara, Francesco Viganò, Mario Verdicchio & Marco Colombetti - 2008 - Artificial Intelligence and Law 16 (1):89-105.
    Software agents’ ability to interact within different open systems, designed by different groups, presupposes an agreement on an unambiguous definition of a set of concepts, used to describe the context of the interaction and the communication language the agents can use. Agents’ interactions ought to allow for reliable expectations on the possible evolution of the system; however, in open systems interacting agents may not conform to predefined specifications. A possible solution is to define interaction environments including a normative component, with (...)
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  19. John Searle and His Critics.Ernest Lepore (ed.) - 1991 - Cambridge: Blackwell.
    For more than three decades John Searle has been developing and elaborating a unified theory of language and mind. What has emerged is an impressive and detailed account of intentionality embracing both mental states and linguistic behaviour. Though the developing theory has been presented in a steady stream of books and articles over the last thirty years, two items stand out as major landmarks: the publication of Speech Acts in 1969 and of Intentionality in 1983. Both of these seminal books (...)
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  20. On the scope and limits of generalizations in the social sciences.Daniel Little - 1993 - Synthese 97 (2):183 - 207.
    This article disputes the common view that social science explanations depend on discovery of lawlike generalizations from which descriptions of social outcomes can be derived. It distinguishes between governing and phenomenal regularities, and argues that social regularities are phenomenal rather than governing. In place of nomological deductive arguments, the article maintains that social explanations depend on the discovery of causal mechanisms underlying various social processes. The metaphysical correlate of this argument is that there are no social kinds: types of social (...)
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  21. Mistakes.Paul A. Roth - 2003 - Synthese 136 (3):389-408.
    A suggestion famously made by Peter Winch and carried through to present discussions holds that what constitutes the social as a kind consists of something shared – rules or practices commonly learned, internalized, or otherwise acquired by all members belonging to a society. This essays argues against the explanatory efficacy of appeals to this shared something as constitutive of a social kind by examining a violation of social norms or rules, viz., mistakes. I argue that an asymmetric relation exists between (...)
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  22. Realism in Action: Essays in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences.Matti Sintonen, Petri Ylikoski & Kaarlo Miller (eds.) - 2003 - Kluwer Academic Publishers.
    Realism in Action is a selection of essays written by leading representatives in the fields of action theory and philosophy of mind, philosophy of the social sciences and especially the nature of social action, and of epistemology and philosophy of science. Practical reason, reasons and causes in action theory, intending and trying, and folk-psychological explanation are some of the topics discussed by these leading participants. A particular emphasis is laid on trust, commitments and social institutions, on the possibility of grounding (...)
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  23. The “making” of teenage pregnancy.James Wong - 1997 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 11 (3):273 – 288.
    I will do two things in this paper. First, I examine the issue of construction in the social sciences by using “teenage pregnancy” as an example. Following Michel Foucault's genealogical studies, I show that new categories were constructed to study teenage pregnancies, but that the construction involved does not support an extreme theory of construction—a theory which allows of nothing like “reality”. Second, I study the interaction between the categories used in investigations of teenage pregnancies and those to whom such (...)
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Grounding and Anchoring in Social Ontology
  1. Social kind realism as relative frame manipulability.Yorgos Karagiannopoulos & Alexios Stamatiadis-Bréhier - 2024 - Philosophical Studies:1-25.
    In this paper we introduce the view that realism about a social kind K entails that the grounding conditions of K are difficult (or impossible) to manipulate. In other words, we define social kind realism in terms of relative frame manipulability (RFM). In articulating our view, we utilize theoretical resources from Epstein’s (Epstein, The ant trap: Rebuilding the foundations of the Social Sciences. Oxford University Press, 2015) grounding/anchoring model and causal interventionism. After comparing our view with causal and principle-based (Tahko, (...)
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  2. Towards a Deflationary Truthmakers Account of Social Groups.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-18.
    I outline a deflationary truthmakers account of social groups. Potentially, the approach allows us to say, with traditional ontological individualists, that there are only pluralities of individuals out there, ontologically speaking, but that there are nevertheless colloquial and social-scientific truths about social groups. If tenable, this kind of theory has the virtue of being both ontologically parsimonious and compatible with ordinary and social-scientific discourse—a virtue which the stock reductive / ontological dependence accounts of social groups arguably lack.
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  3. Theorizing with a purpose: The many kinds of sex.Sally Haslanger - 2016 - In Catherine Kendig (ed.), Natural Kinds and Classification in Scientific Practice. London: Routledge. pp. 129-144.
    The paper indicates how social kinds may be internally and objectively unified in a way continuous with physical kinds. It argues that the practice of theorizing is continuous with other practices to the extent that theorists, like anyone engaged in a practice, needs to make choices that are responsive to purposes (and corresponding values) guiding the practice. The paper discusses Epstein's theory of anchoring, and argues for a theory of scaffolding social kinds.
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  4. Open Questions in the Metaphysics of Habitable Categories.Axel Barceló - 2021 - EurAmerica 4 (50):669-707.
    My purpose in this text is to offer a general roadmap for navigating most current debates in the metaphysics of social categories regarding what sort of fact it is for a person to inhabit one social category or another—for example, what makes a person Mexican, or gay, or rich. With this goal in mind, I propose classifying the debating positions into three broad camps: common sense theories, socio-historical accounts, and performative theories. I characterise their main differences, identifying the main challenges (...)
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  5. How to Project a Socially Constructed Sexual Orientation.Peter Finocchiaro - 2021 - Journal of Social Ontology 7 (2):173-203.
    Was bisexuality a widespread feature of ancient Greek society? This question is an instance of cross-cultural projection -- of taking the means through which people are categorized in one culture and applying it to members of another. It’s widely held by those who think that sexual orientation is socially constructed that its projection poses a problem. In this paper, I offer a more careful analysis of this alleged problem. To analyze projection, I adapt Iris Einheuser’s substratum-carving model of conventionalism to (...)
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  6. Social Inconsistency.Thomas Brouwer - 2022 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9.
    Though the social world is real and objective, the way that social facts arise out of other facts is in an important way shaped by human thought, talk and behaviour. Building on recent work in social ontology, I describe a mechanism whereby this distinctive malleability of social facts, combined with the possibility of basic human error, makes it possible for a consistent physical reality to ground an inconsistent social reality. I explore various ways of resisting the prima facie case for (...)
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  7. Social Ontology and Model-Building: A Response to Epstein.Nadia Ruiz - 2021 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 51 (2):176-192.
    Brian Epstein has recently argued that a thoroughly microfoundationalist approach towards economics is unconvincing for metaphysical reasons. Generally, Epstein argues that for an improvement in the methodology of social science we must adopt social ontology as the foundation of social sciences; that is, the standing microfoundationalist debate could be solved by fixing economics’ ontology. However, as I show in this paper, fixing the social ontology prior to the process of model construction is optional instead of necessary and that metaphysical-ontological commitments (...)
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  8. Explaining Ideology: Mechanisms and Metaphysics.Matteo Bianchin - 2020 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (4):313-337.
    Ideology is commonly defined along functional, epistemic, and genetic dimensions. This article advances a reasonably unified account that specifies how they connect and locates the mechanisms at work. I frame the account along a recent distinction between anchoring and grounding, endorse an etiological reading of functional explanations, and draw on current work about the epistemology of delusion, looping effects, and structuring causes to explain how ideologies originate, reproduce, and possibly collapse. This eventually allows articulating how the legitimating function of ideologies (...)
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  9. Against Conventional Wisdom.Alexander W. Kocurek, Ethan Jerzak & Rachel Etta Rudolph - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20 (22):1-27.
    Conventional wisdom has it that truth is always evaluated using our actual linguistic conventions, even when considering counterfactual scenarios in which different conventions are adopted. This principle has been invoked in a number of philosophical arguments, including Kripke’s defense of the necessity of identity and Lewy’s objection to modal conventionalism. But it is false. It fails in the presence of what Einheuser (2006) calls c-monsters, or convention-shifting expressions (on analogy with Kaplan’s monsters, or context-shifting expressions). We show that c-monsters naturally (...)
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  10. The creation of institutional reality, special theory of relativity, and mere Cambridge change.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2021 - Synthese 198 (6):5835-5860.
    Saying so can make it so, J. L. Austin taught us long ago. Famously, John Searle has developed this Austinian insight in an account of the construction of institutional reality. Searle maintains that so-called Status Function Declarations, allegedly having a “double direction of fit”, synchronically create worldly institutional facts, corresponding to the propositional content of the declarations. I argue that Searle’s account of the making of institutional reality is in tension with the special theory of relativity—irrespective of whether the account (...)
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  11. Comments on Brian Epstein’s The Ant Trap.Katherine Hawley - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (2):217-229.
    ABSTRACTThe Ant Trap is a terrific book, which opens up new opportunities to use philosophical methods in the social realm, by drawing on the tools and techniques of contemporary metaphysics. Epstein uses concepts of dependence, constitution, and grounding, of parts and whole, of membership and kindhood, both to clarify existing accounts of social reality and to develop an account of his own. Whilst I admire the general strategy, I take issue with some aspects of Epstein’s implementation, notably his distinction between (...)
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