The Construction of Social Reality: An Exchange

American Journal of Economics and Sociology 62 (2):285-309 (2003)
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Abstract

Part 1 of this exchange consists in a critique by Smith of Searle’s The Construction of Social Reality focusing on Searle’s use of the formula ‘X counts as Y in context C’. Smith argues that this formula works well for social objects such as dollar bills and presidents where the corresponding X terms (pieces of paper, human beings) are easy to identify. In cases such as debts and prices and money in a bank's computers, however, the formula fails, because these are cases of what he calls ‘free-standing Y terms’, since there is here no X which can count as the corresponding Y. In his response in Part 2, Searle argues that Smith’s critique rests on three misunderstandings: 1. in wrongly presupposing that Searle is trying to analyze the nature of what he calls “social objects”, rather than of social facts; 2. in thinking that the counts as formula is intended as a definition, rather than as a mere mnemonic; and 3. in neglecting the naturalism of Searle’s account.

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Author Profiles

John R. Searle
University of California, Berkeley
Barry Smith
State University of New York, Buffalo

Citations of this work

The Chinese rune argument.Barry Smith - 2001 - Philosophical Explorations 4 (2):66-74.
Social Ontology.Brian Epstein - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Fiat objects.Barry Smith - 2001 - Topoi 20 (2):131-148.

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References found in this work

Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John Rogers Searle - 1969 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.William P. Alston - 1970 - Philosophical Quarterly 20 (79):172-179.
Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John Searle - 1969 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 4 (1):59-61.

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