In Ricki Bliss & James Miller (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics (forthcoming)

Katherine Ritchie
University of California, Irvine
Rebecca Mason
University of San Francisco
Traditionally, social entities (i.e., social properties, facts, kinds, groups, institutions, and structures) have not fallen within the purview of mainstream metaphysics. In this chapter, we consider whether the exclusion of social entities from mainstream metaphysics is philosophically warranted or if it instead rests on historical accident or bias. We examine three ways one might attempt to justify excluding social metaphysics from the domain of metaphysical inquiry and argue that each fails. Thus, we conclude that social entities are not justifiably excluded from metaphysical inquiry. Finally, we ask how focusing on social entities could change the character of metaphysical inquiry. We suggest that starting from examples of social entities might lead metaphysicians to rethink the assumption that describing reality in terms of intrinsic, independent, and individualistic features is preferable to describing it in terms of relational, dependent, and non-individualistic features.
Keywords social ontology  metametaphysics
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References found in this work BETA

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
New Work for a Theory of Universals.David Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.

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