An Essentialist Framework for Social Ontology

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Brian Epstein has suggested that social ontology is concerned with how the social world is built. I argue that social ontology is also concerned with the essence of the social world. I first consider the debate within social ontology over the nature of money, and I argue that this debate is not adequately represented as a debate about grounding or anchoring. I then consider the debate within social ontology over the nature of social groups, and I argue that this debate too is not adequately represented as a debate about grounding or anchoring. I conclude by sketching an essentialist framework for social ontology, on which both of these debates may be construed as debates about the essence of certain social items.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “An Essentialist Framework for Social Ontology

  1. Brouwer, Thomas says:

    Hey Asya, thank you for your response in the discussion session, I just wanted to mention something in relation to your discussion with Karl. You floated the idea that within the abundant space of gender properties (gender*, gender**, etc) one might be marked out as the most ‘reference magnetic’ property, not in virtue of its naturalness, but in virtue of its normative goodness. A view akin to this (not about the case of gender, but still) has been floated by Robbie Williams (also attending this conference) in his “Normative Reference Magnets” (Phil Review 2018) and also in his recent book. So that might be a useful thing to look at.

    1. Passinsky, Asya says:

      Hi Thomas, thanks so much for the reference! I’ll definitely take a look at Williams’s article.

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