On the Historicity of Social Ontology

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Patomäki , H 2020 , ' On the Historicity of Social Ontology ' , Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour , vol. 50 , no. 4 , pp. 439-461 . https://doi.org/10.1111/jtsb.12254

Title: On the Historicity of Social Ontology
Author: Patomäki, Heikki
Contributor organization: Political Science
Date: 2020-12
Language: eng
Number of pages: 23
Belongs to series: Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour
ISSN: 0021-8308
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jtsb.12254
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/322673
Abstract: The question I raise is whether the basic features of mind, social categories, and society are unchanging or changing. Some understandings of ontology would seem to suggest that social ontology is a branch of metaphysics. However, as the history of concepts such as metaphysical and ontology indicate, our concepts and knowledge are historical. It is widely held that society is concept‐ and activity‐dependent. I examine critically two strands of social ontology in terms of their answers to this problematic: (1) John Searle’s theory of the construction of social reality and (2) critical realist theory of mind and society as interlaced emergent layers of reality. Apart from emergence in natural systems, there is also emergence beyond nature as consciousness, agency and society cannot be completely explained in terms of biological realities; but how and when did this emergence occur? We need an account of the emergent order of language, reflectively conscious mind, and institutions not only for its own sake, but also because the process whereby new objects and properties emerge may be on‐going, path‐dependent, diverse, and open‐ended. The main argument is that the object of study of social theorists is geo‐historically specific, liable to diversity within any given world‐historical epoch, and open to further changes and new forms of emergence in the future.
Subject: 5171 Political Science
515 Psychology
Peer reviewed: Yes
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: acceptedVersion

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