Existence, really? Tacit disagreements about “existence” in disputes about group minds and corporate agents

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A central dispute in social ontology concerns the existence of group minds and actions. I argue that some authors in this dispute rely on rival views of existence without sufficiently acknowledging this divergence. I proceed in three steps in arguing for this claim. First, I define the phenomenon as an implicit higher-order disagreement by drawing on an analysis of verbal disputes. Second, I distinguish two theories of existence—the theory-commitments view and the truthmaker view—in both their eliminativist and their constructivist variants. Third, I examine individual contributions to the dispute about the existence of group minds and actions to argue that these contributions have an implicit higher-order disagreement. This paper serves two purposes. First, it is a study to apply recent advances in meta-ontology. Second, it contributes to the debate on social ontology by illustrating how meta-ontology matters for social ontology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSynthese
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Existence
  • Group actions
  • Group agents
  • Group minds
  • Metaontology
  • Social ontology
  • Verbal disputes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences(all)

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