Philosophy Compass 10 (5):310-321 (2015)

Authors
Katherine Ritchie
University of California, Irvine
Abstract
Social groups, including racial and gender groups and teams and committees, seem to play an important role in our world. This article examines key metaphysical questions regarding groups. I examine answers to the question ‘Do groups exist?’ I argue that worries about puzzles of composition, motivations to accept methodological individualism, and a rejection of Racialism support a negative answer to the question. An affirmative answer is supported by arguments that groups are efficacious, indispensible to our best theories, and accepted given common sense. Then, I turn to an examination of the features of social groups. I argue that social groups can be divided into two sorts. Groups of Type 1 are organized social groups like courts and clubs. Groups of Type 2 are groups like Blacks, women, and lesbians. While groups of both sorts have some features in common, they also have marked differences in features. Finally, I turn to views of the nature of social groups. I argue that the difference in features provides evidence that social groups do not have a uniform nature. Teams and committees are structured wholes, while race and gender groups are social kinds
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DOI 10.1111/phc3.12213
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References found in this work BETA

The Social Construction of What?Ian Hacking - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Material Beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Social Structures and the Ontology of Social Groups.Katherine Ritchie - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (2):402-424.
The Ontology of Social Groups.Amie Thomasson - 2019 - Synthese 196 (12):4829-4845.
Social Ontology.Brian Epstein - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Metaphysics of Social Kinds.Rebecca Mason - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (12):841-850.

View all 35 citations / Add more citations

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