What is Individualism in Social Ontology? Ontological Individualism vs. Anchor Individualism

In Finn Collin & Julie Zahle (eds.), Rethinking the Individualism/Holism Debate: Essays in the Philosophy of Social Science (2014)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Individualists about social ontology hold that social facts are “built out of” facts about individuals. In this paper, I argue that there are two distinct kinds of individualism about social ontology, two different ways individual people might be the metaphysical “builders” of the social world. The familiar kind is ontological individualism. This is the thesis that social facts supervene on, or are exhaustively grounded by, facts about individual people. What I call anchor individualism is the alternative thesis that facts about individuals put in place the conditions for a social entity to exist, or the conditions for something to have a social property. Examples include conventionalist theories of the social world, such as David Hume’s theories of promises, money, and government, and collective acceptance theories, such as John Searle’s theory of institutional facts. Anchor individualism is often conflated with ontological individualism. But in fact, the two theses are in tension with one another: if one of these kinds of individualism is true, then the other is very unlikely to be. My aim in this paper is to clarify both, and argue that they should be sharply distinguished from one another.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
EPSWII
Upload history
Archival date: 2014-07-17
View other versions
Added to PP index
2014-07-17

Total views
928 ( #3,746 of 53,527 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
141 ( #3,250 of 53,527 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.