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On the Construction of Social Reality in Knowledge Age

Author: ChenXiuChuan
Tutor: LiuJie
School: Shandong University
Course: Foreign Philosophy
Keywords: Searle Social Reality Institutional Facts Deontic Power
CLC: B712.6
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2013
Downloads: 9
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Searle’s theory social reality is the thought about the existence of society itself, thus belongs to social ontology. His thought is embodied in the construction of social ontology. While it is important to emphasize that instead of talking about the abstract reality, he studies the daily social facts around us, like the money, the government the marriage, etc. These facts are established by a system of rules or institutions, for which reason they are called "institutional facts". The structure of social reality is concealed in institutional facts.This commonsense argument is relevant to the high praise Searle gave to knowledge. According to Searle, the central intellectual fact of the present era is that knowledge grows. And we have a huge accumulation of knowledge which is certain,objective, and universal. Therefore, he stand the ground of "real life epistemology", which is founded in our daily knowledge. So, the construction of social reality is set in the background of knowledge age. Its premises are external realism and correspondence theory of truth.The document analysis method is adopted in this paper to comb the fundamental points of Searle’s social reality, which is helpful to specify the nature of the institutional facts. The institutional facts contain three constitutional elements:the collective intentionality, the assignment of function and the constitutional rule. Institutional facts are ontological subjective, because they are produced by our mind and language, meanwhile, they are epistemological objective, for we can have an objective knowledge about them. Furthermore, institutional facts can impose reasons for action independent of individual desires and inclinations. The process of the construction of social reality is the collective intentions assign status functions to object according to the constitutive rule "X counts as Y in context C"The function of language in constructing social reality contains two aspects:First, all the institutional facts are represented as existing. Second, Some of the institutional facts are created directly by Declarations. So, language has participant in the construction of social reality. But Searle regards the institutional facts as having ontological status because of their self-reference, which has leaved many problems. Both language and other institutional facts are dependent on rules. So the rationality of rules is essential to the ontology of institutional facts. But Searle has tried to eliminate this question by the concept of "background", while the "background" is rather vague. This article tries to solve Seale’s problem through Wittgenstein’s pragmatics and regards social reality as a dynamic process.

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