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Social Ontology

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2018)

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  1. Social kind realism as relative frame manipulability.Yorgos Karagiannopoulos & Alexios Stamatiadis-Bréhier - 2024 - Philosophical Studies 181 (6):1655–1679.
    In this paper we introduce the view that realism about a social kind K entails that the grounding conditions of K are difficult (or impossible) to manipulate. In other words, we define social kind realism in terms of relative frame manipulability (RFM). In articulating our view, we utilize theoretical resources from Epstein’s (Epstein, The ant trap: Rebuilding the foundations of the Social Sciences. Oxford University Press, 2015) grounding/anchoring model and causal interventionism. After comparing our view with causal and principle-based (Tahko, (...)
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  • Categorizing Art.Kiyohiro Sen - 2024 - Dissertation, University of Tokyo
    This dissertation examines the practice of categorizing works of art and its relationship to art criticism. How a work of art is categorized influences how it is appreciated and criticized. Being frightening is a merit for horror, but a demerit for lullabies. The brushstrokes in Monet's "Impression, Sunrise" (1874) look crude when seen as a Neoclassical painting, but graceful when seen as an Impressionist painting. Many of the judgments we make about artworks are category-dependent in this way, but previous research (...)
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  • Plural Pasts: Historiography between Events and Structures.Arthur Alfaix Assis - 2023 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    What is history about? This Element shows that answers centred on the keyword 'past events' are incomplete, even if they are not simply wrong. Interweaving theoretical and historical perspectives, it provides an abstract overview of the thematic plurality that characterizes contemporary academic historiography. The reflection on different sorts of pasts that can be at focus in historical research and writing encompasses events as well as non-events, especially recursive social structures and cultural webs. Some consequences of such plurality for discussions concerning (...)
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  • Metaphysics.Peter Van Inwagen, Meghan Sullivan & Sara Bernstein - 2023 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Integrated Information Theory as Formal Framework for the Gradation of Social Structure.Benjamin Christensen - manuscript
    This paper explores the individualism-holism debate in social ontology and proposes a novel approach to the formalization of our intuitions and claims about social entities. Responding to recent calls for gradualist approaches in lieu of traditional sum-zero scenarios, it is argued that formal tools can be extracted from Integrated Information Theory (IIT) that provide a suitable logical language for gradualist descriptions and analyses of social entities.
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  • Propaganda: More Than Flawed Messaging.Cory Wimberly - 2023 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 40 (5):849-863.
    Most of the recent work on propaganda in philosophy has come from a narrowly epistemological standpoint that sees it as flawed messaging that negatively impacts public reasonableness and deliberation. This article posits two problems with this approach: first, it obscures the full range of propaganda's activities; and second, it prevents effective ameliorative measures by offering an overly truncated assessment of the problems to be addressed. Following Ellul and Hyska, I argue that propaganda aims at shaping actions and not just beliefs, (...)
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  • Parallel Debates: A Methodological Proposal.Itsue Nakaya-Perez - 2022 - Resistances. Journal of the Philosophy of History 3 (6):e21096.
    Social ontology focuses on questions about the reality of human categories. The typical examples are gender and race. Common questions about them are: Do they exist? What is their nature? Do they exist in the best possible way? Meanwhile, the philosophy of psychiatry has been discussing the reality of psychopathology, what is the best way to classify mental disorders, and whether it is possible to define them without normative vocabulary. I think there is something not only strange but inadequate about (...)
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  • Social ontology in metaethics.Gloria Mähringer - forthcoming - Philosophy and Social Criticism.
    This article enriches discussions about the metaphysics of normative facts with conceptual resources from social ontology that metaethics has neglected so far: the resources of Haslanger’s critical realism as social constructionism. By pointing out the viability of understanding reasons as socially constructed facts, the article shows how normative facts can be understood as features of mind-independent reality that are, however, not features of the universe independently of social practices. The move into social ontology allows us to understand normative facts as (...)
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  • Eradicating Theocracy Philosophically.Pouya Lotfi Yazdi - manuscript
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  • A model-based approach to social ontology.Matti Sarkia - 2021 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 52 (3):175-203.
    This paper argues for theoretical modeling and model-construction as central types of activities that philosophers of social ontology engage in. This claim is defended through a detailed case study and revisionary interpretation of Raimo Tuomela’s account of the we-perspective. My interpretation is grounded in Ronald Giere’s account of scientific models, and argued to be compatible with, but less demanding than Tuomela’s own description of his account as a philosophical theory of the social world. My approach is also suggested to be (...)
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  • Motivating a Pragmatic Approach to Naturalized Social Ontology.Richard Lauer - 2022 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 53 (4):403–419.
    Recent contributions to the philosophy of the social sciences have motivated ontological commitments using appeals to the social sciences (_naturalized_ social ontologies). These arguments rely on social scientific realism about the social sciences, the view that our social scientific theories are approximately true. I apply a distinction formulated in metaontology between ontologically loaded and unloaded meanings of existential quantification to argue that there is a pragmatic approach to naturalized social ontology that is minimally realist (it treats existence claims as true (...)
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  • Reality in Perspectives.Mahdi Khalili - 2022 - Dissertation, Vu University Amsterdam
    This dissertation is about human knowledge of reality. In particular, it argues that scientific knowledge is bounded by historically available instruments and theories; nevertheless, the use of several independent instruments and theories can provide access to the persistent potentialities of reality. The replicability of scientific observations and experiments allows us to obtain explorable evidence of robust entities and properties. The dissertation includes seven chapters. It also studies three cases – namely, Higgs bosons and hypothetical Ϝ-particles (section 2.4), the Ptolemaic and (...)
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  • That solution to Prior’s puzzle.Hüseyin Güngör - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (9):2765-2785.
    Prior's puzzle is a puzzle about the substitution of certain putatively synonymous or coreferential expressions in sentences. Prior's puzzle is important, because a satisfactory solution to it should constitute a crucial part of an adequate semantic theory for both proposition-embedding expressions and attitudinal verbs. I argue that two recent solutions to this puzzle are unsatisfactory. They either focus on the meaning of attitudinal verbs or content nouns. I propose a solution relying on a recent analysis of that-clauses in linguistics. Our (...)
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  • Epistemological solipsism as a route to external world skepticism.Grace Helton - 2021 - Philosophical Perspectives 35 (1):229-250.
    I show that some of the most initially attractive routes of refuting epistemological solipsism face serious obstacles. I also argue that for creatures like ourselves, solipsism is a genuine form of external world skepticism. I suggest that together these claims suggest the following morals: No proposed solution to external world skepticism can succeed which does not also solve the problem of epistemological solipsism. And, more tentatively: In assessing proposed solutions to external world skepticism, epistemologists should explicitly consider whether those solutions (...)
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  • What it Might Be like to Be a Group Agent.Max F. Kramer - 2021 - Neuroethics 14 (3):437-447.
    Many theorists have defended the claim that collective entities can attain genuine agential status. If collectives can be agents, this opens up a further question: can they be conscious? That is, is there something that it is like to be them? Eric Schwitzgebel argues that yes, collective entities, may well be significantly conscious. Others, including Kammerer, Tononi and Koch, and List reject the claim. List does so on the basis of Tononi’s Integrated Information Theory of consciousness. I argue here that (...)
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  • Diskriminierung und das Kriterium der Gruppenzugehörigkeit.Hauke Behrendt - 2020 - Zeitschrift für Praktische Philosophie 7 (1):155-190.
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  • Social Ontology.Rebecca Mason & Katherine Ritchie - 2020 - In Ricki Bliss & James Miller (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics. New York, NY: Routledge.
    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 (...)
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  • Bioethics Education and Nonideal Theory.Nabina Liebow & Kelso Cratsley - 2021 - In Elizabeth Victor & Laura K. Guidry-Grimes (eds.), Applying Nonideal Theory to Bioethics: Living and Dying in a Nonideal World. New York: Springer. pp. 119-142.
    Bioethics has increasingly become a standard part of medical school education and the training of healthcare professionals more generally. This is a promising development, as it has the potential to help future practitioners become more attentive to moral concerns and, perhaps, better moral reasoners. At the same time, there is growing recognition within bioethics that nonideal theory can play an important role in formulating normative recommendations. In this chapter we discuss what this shift toward nonideal theory means for ethical curricula (...)
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  • The Social Furniture of Virtual Worlds.Peter Ludlow - 2019 - Disputatio 11 (55):345-369.
    David Chalmers argues that virtual objects exist in the form of data structures that have causal powers. I argue that there is a large class of virtual objects that are social objects and that do not depend upon data structures for their existence. I also argue that data structures are themselves fundamentally social objects. Thus, virtual objects are fundamentally social objects.
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  • Structuralism in Social Science: Obsolete or Promising?Josef Menšík - 2018 - Teorie Vědy / Theory of Science 40 (2):129-132.
    The approach of structuralism came to philosophy from social science. It was also in social science where, in 1950–1970s, in the form of the French structuralism, the approach gained its widest recognition. Since then, however, the approach fell out of favour in social science. Recently, structuralism is gaining currency in the philosophy of mathematics. After ascertaining that the two structuralisms indeed share a common core, the question stands whether general structuralism could not find its way back into social science. The (...)
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  • Models, Fiction and the Imagination.Arnon Levy - 2024 - In Tarja Knuuttila, Natalia Carrillo & Rami Koskinen (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Scientific Modeling. Routledge.
    Science and fiction seem to lie at opposite ends of the cognitive-epistemic spectrum. The former is typically seen as the study of hard, real-world facts in a rigorous manner. The latter is treated as an instrument of play and recreation, dealing in figments of the imagination. Initial appearances notwithstanding, several central features of scientific modeling in fact suggest a close connection with the imagination and recent philosophers have developed detailed accounts of models that treat them, in one way or another, (...)
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  • A deflationary approach to legal ontology.Miguel Garcia-Godinez - 2024 - Synthese 203:1-20.
    Contra recent, inflationary views, the paper submits a deflationary approach to legal ontology. It argues, in particular, that to answer ontological questions about legal entities, we only need conceptual analysis and empirical investigation. In developing this proposal, it follows Amie Thomasson’s ‘easy ontology’ and her strategy for answering whether ordinary objects exist. The purpose of this is to advance a theory that, on the one hand, does not fall prey to sceptical views about legal reality (viz., that ontological truths about (...)
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  • The Weirdness of the World.Eric Schwitzgebel - 2024 - Princeton University Press.
    How all philosophical explanations of human consciousness and the fundamental structure of the cosmos are bizarre—and why that’s a good thing Do we live inside a simulated reality or a pocket universe embedded in a larger structure about which we know virtually nothing? Is consciousness a purely physical matter, or might it require something extra, something nonphysical? According to the philosopher Eric Schwitzgebel, it’s hard to say. In The Weirdness of the World, Schwitzgebel argues that the answers to these fundamental (...)
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  • When Moral Responsibility Theory Met My Philosophy of Disability.Shelley Lynn Tremain - 2024 - Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 10 (1).
    In this article, I aim to demonstrate that moral responsibility theory produces, legitimates, and even magnifies the considerable social injustice that accrues to disabled people insofar as it implicitly and explicitly promotes a depoliticized ontology of disability that construes disability as a naturally disadvantageous personal characteristic or deleterious property of individuals rather than identifies it as an effect of power, an apparatus. In particular, I argue that the methodological tools of “analytic” philosophy that philosophers of moral responsibility theory employ to (...)
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  • Entités institutionnelles et attitudes mentales.Olivier Ouzilou - 2021 - Dialogue 60 (2):199-235.
    The thesis asserting the mental dependence of institutional entities is particularly debated in social ontology. One of its implications is the infallibility thesis, according to which the existence of institutional entities requires that some of their properties be known. What are these properties? After presenting the Searlian conception of institutional entities and the kind of mental dependence they manifest, I specify the content of the infallibility thesis. I then show that these properties are the deontic powers associated with these entities, (...)
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  • The Province of Conceptual Reason: Hegel's Post-Kantian Rationalism.William Clark Wolf - unknown
    In this dissertation, I seek to explain G.W.F. Hegel’s view that human accessible conceptual content can provide knowledge about the nature or essence of things. I call this view “Conceptual Transparency.” It finds its historical antecedent in the views of eighteenth century German rationalists, which were strongly criticized by Immanuel Kant. I argue that Hegel explains Conceptual Transparency in such a way that preserves many implications of German rationalism, but in a form that is largely compatible with Kant’s criticisms of (...)
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  • "Knowledge First" and Its Limits.Tammo Lossau - 2022 - Dissertation, Johns Hopkins University
    I discuss three understandings of the idea of “Knowledge First Epistemology”, i.e. Timothy Williamson’s suggestion that we should take knowledge as a starting point, rather than trying to analyze it. Some have taken this to be a suggestion about the role of the concept of knowledge, but Williamson also seems to be concerned with intuition-based metaphysics. As an alternative, I develop the idea that knowledge may be a social kind that can be understood through a functional analysis in the tradition (...)
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  • The Collective Archives of Mind : An Exploration of Reasons from Metaethics to Social Ontology.Gloria Mähringer - unknown
    This monograph discusses the question of what it is to be a reason – mainly in practical ethics – and proposes an original contribution to metaethics.It critically examines theories of metaethical realism, constructivism and error theory and identifies several misunderstandings or unclarities in contemporary debates. Based on this examination, the book suggests a distinction between a conceptual question, that can be answered by pure first-personal thinking, and a material question, that targets responses to reasons as a natural phenomenon in space (...)
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  • Mill and Acton on Liberty, Nationality and Multinational States.Tim Beaumont - 2023 - Nations and Nationalism 29 (4):1196–1211..
    Mill's System of Logic (1843) indicates that the definition of ‘nationality’ he offered in Considerations on Representative Government (1861) is not a throwaway comment but a carefully considered causal hypothesis tailored to his politico-ethological research programme. This matters because Lord Acton's critique of Mill's claim that free institutions are almost impossible in multinational states ignored the definition, thereby obscuring subsequent scholars' vision of the conceptual dimension of this famous dispute. Although Mill struggled in his politico-ethological endeavour, he was sufficiently confident (...)
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  • Coordination as Naturalistic Social Ontology: Constraints and Explanation.Valerii Shevchenko - 2023 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 53 (2):103-121.
    In the paper, I propose a project of social coordination as naturalistic social ontology (CNSO) based on the rules-in-equilibria theory of social institutions (Guala and Hindriks 2015; Hindriks and Guala 2015). It takes coordination as the main ontological unit of the social, a mechanism homological across animals and humans, for both can handle coordination problems: in the forms of “animal conventions” and social institutions, respectively. On this account, institutions are correlated equilibria with normative force. However, if both humans and animals (...)
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  • The Singular Plurality of Social Goods / La singolare pluralità dei beni sociali.Marco Emilio - 2022 - Dissertation, Université de Neuchâtel
    According to some philosophers and social scientists, mainstream economic theories currently play an unprecedented role in shaping human societies. This phenomenon can be linked to the dissemination of methodological individualism, where common goods are interpreted as reducible to aggregates of individuals' well-being. Nonetheless, some emergent difficulties of economics in coping with global institutional issues have encouraged some authors to revise that paradigm. In the last three decades, there has been a parallel growing philosophical interest in investigating social sciences' epistemological and (...)
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  • Entre Nous: Charles Taylor’s Social Ontology.Arto Laitinen - 2021 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 29 (5):723-737.
    This article discusses Charles Taylor’s philosophy of human sociality, focusing especially on Taylor’s analysis of what happens, when a linguistic exchange or conversation starts. On his view, a sh...
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