SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Social Construction as Grounding: Demarcating the Important/Covert Cases
(Metaphysics and Ontology, English)

A lot of things are said to be socially constructed: money, borders, corporates, nations, gender, race, etc. As Hacking puts it, the metaphor of social construction has __become tired_ (Hacking 1999, p.35). Especially in social ontology, according to the simple-ground theoretic analyses of social construction, all the cases that are grounded in the social are social constructions: even mathematical sets and public artifacts. There is no doubt that those are not social constructions, but what about borders, corporates, and nations? Many social ontologists accept them as paradigmatic examples of social construction and build their theories to include them. However, I am skeptical about their approach, I think that they miss the point of social constructionist claims: to show that some kind we ordinarily take to be natural is, in fact, social (Haslanger 2003). This is called the debunking project, and those cases such as gender and race can be called covert cases of social construction. We need an account through which we can distinguish covert cases of social construction from other cases grounded in the social. There are two steps that need to be taken: (1) understanding social construction in terms of grounding relation, and then (2) distinguishing important/covert cases of social construction from other cases. In this way, we can integrate the notion of social construction into a more general metaphysics without forgetting the aim of social constructionist claims.

Time: 10:00-10:30, 08 September 2022 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.006

Pelin Kasar 
(Central European University, Austria)

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