According to John Searle, money is an institutional entity; it is among the things “that exist only because we believe them to exist”. I believe that Searle’s view is correct in some important respects. At the same time, I argue that money is a real or natural kind, much in the same way as biological species or chemical substances are real kinds about which empirical knowledge can be accumulated. The paper attempts to show the consistency of these assumptions. My argument proceeds in two steps. First, I introduce homeostatic property cluster theory and characterize it as the most adequate account of real kinds that has been developed so far. Second, I reexamine, and to some extent reinterpret, money – one of Searle’s central examples of an institutional kind – and argue that it meets the conditions of a real kind as stated by HPC theory. An important part of the argument is a reconsideration of the circularity problem, i.e., the problem that Searle’s way of analyzing money already seems to presuppose the concept of money.
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy
Categories No categories specified
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ISBN(s) 978-1-63435-038-9
DOI 10.5840/wcp23201849999
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