The Construction of Social Reality: An Exchange

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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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First archival date: 2015-11-21
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