Metaphysics 3 (1):55-67 (2020)

Rebecca Mason
University of San Francisco
The view that social kinds (e.g., money, migrant, marriage) are mind-dependent is a prominent one in the social ontology literature. However, in addition to the claim that social kinds are mind-dependent, it is often asserted that social kinds are not real because they are mind-dependent. Call this view social kind anti-realism. To defend their view, social kind anti-realists must accomplish two tasks. First, they must identify a dependence relation that obtains between social kinds and our mental states. Call this the Dependence Task. Second, they must show that social kinds are not real because they are mind-dependent. Call this the Anti-Realist Task. In this paper, I consider several different ways of defining the relation that is supposed to obtain between social kinds and our mental states. With respect to each relation, I argue that either it fails to accomplish the Dependence Task, or it fails to accomplish the Anti-Realist Task. As such, anyone who wishes to defend social kind anti-realism must provide an alternative explanation of how social kinds depend on our mental states in a way that impugns their reality. In the absence of such an explanation, there is no reason to endorse social kind anti-realism.
Keywords social kinds  social ontology  social metaphysics  mind-dependence  realism  anti-realism  Searle
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DOI 10.5334/met.30
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References found in this work BETA

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Citations of this work BETA

Social Inconsistency.Thomas Brouwer - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
Social kinds are essentially mind-dependent.Rebecca Mason - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3975-3994.

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