In Barry Smith, David Mark & Isaac Ehrlich (eds.), The Mystery of Capital and the Construction of Social Reality. Open Court. pp. 35-51 (2008)

Barry Smith
State University of New York, Buffalo
Consider a game of blind chess between two chess masters that is recorded in some standard chess notation. The recording is a representation of the game. But what is the game itself? This question is, we believe, central to the entire domain of social ontology. We argue that the recorded game is a special sort of quasi-abstract pattern, something that is: (i) like abstract entities such as numbers or forms, in that it is both nonphysical and nonpsychological; but at the same time, (ii) through its association with specific players and a specific occasion, tied to time and history. We discover other abstract patterns of this sort especially in the domains of law and commerce. This essay draws on the work in social ontology, we of Hernando de Soto and of John Searle to develop an ontology of the social world based on an analysis of the peculiar interdependence between quasi-abstract patterns and their representations in documents of different sorts.
Keywords capitalism  documents  free-standing Y terms  chess  document acts
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Construction of Social Reality.John R. Searle - 1995 - Philosophy 71 (276):313-315.
A Theory of Granular Partitions.Thomas Bittner & Barry Smith - 2003 - In M. Duckham, M. F. Goodchild & M. F. Worboys (eds.), Foundations of Geographic Information Science. London: Taylor & Francis. pp. 117-151.
Quantum Mereotopology.Barry Smith & Berit O. Brogaard - 2002 - Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence 36 (1):153-175.
Bodily Systems and the Spatial-Functional Structure of the Human Body.Barry Smith - 2004 - Studies in Health and Technology Informatics 102:39–63.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Document Acts.Barry Smith - 2014 - In Anita Konzelmann-Ziv & Hans Bernhard Schmid (eds.), Institutions, Emotions, and Group Agents: Contributions to Social Ontology. Springer. pp. 19-31.
Installation Art and Performance: A Shared Ontology.Sherri Irvin - 2013 - In Christy Mag Uidhir (ed.), Art and Abstract Objects. Oxford University Press. pp. 242-262.
How to Do Things Without Words - A Theory of Declarations.J. P. Smit & Filip Buekens - 2017 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 47 (3):235-254.
Institutions as Dispositions: Searle, Smith and the Metaphysics of Blind Chess.Michaël Bauwens - 2018 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 48 (3):254-272.

View all 17 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

How to Do Things with Documents.Barry Smith - 2012 - Rivista di Estetica 50:179-198.
A Realer Institutional Reality: Deepening Searle’s (De)Ontology of Civilization.Molly Brigid Flynn - 2012 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (1):43-67.
Social Space and the Ontology of Recognition.Italo Testa - 2011 - In Heikki Ikäheimo Arto Laitinen (ed.), Recognition and Social Ontology. Brill Books (pp. 287-308).
Making Social Worlds.Andrius Gališanka - 2012 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 6 (1):115-133.
Self-in-a-Vat: On John Searle's Ontology of Reasons for Acting.Laurence Kaufmann - 2005 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35 (4):447-479.
The Reviled Art.Stuart Rachels - 2008 - In Benjamin Hale (ed.), Philosophy Looks at Chess. Open Court Press.
Power and Social Ontology.Åsa Andersson - 2007 - Lund: Bokbox Publications.
Lupita's Dress: Care in Time.Colin Danby - 2004 - Hypatia 19 (4):23-48.


Added to PP index

Total views
482 ( #19,335 of 2,518,755 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
33 ( #26,497 of 2,518,755 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes