Social Facts: Metaphysical and Empirical Perspectives

30 01 2012

Call for Papers

*Social Facts: Metaphysical and Empirical Perspectives*

A Special Issue of  Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

Guest Editors:  
 Alessandro Salice (Universität Basel & Universität Wien)
 Luca Tummolini (ISTC-CNR, Rome)

Social facts like money, marriages, debts, universities, driving licenses, cocktail parties, etc., influence our decisions and have pervasive effects on our daily lives. Since their existence is presupposed by much of what we do, it seems indeed pointless to argue against their ontological objectivity. At the same time, one might wonder in what sense these facts bear genuine existence: a look at their structure rapidly reveals that the beliefs, linguistic uses and collective practices of a community necessarily constitute these sorts of facts. Understanding the hybrid nature of these entities is one of the prominent tasks of social ontology.   

This endeavor, however, seems to lead to a debate that swings between irreconcilable positions: from reductionist explanations championed in part of the analytical tradition, to more permissive ontologies endorsed by some phenomenologists. At the same time, an empirical approach is fostered by the cognitive sciences, which recently have begun to explore the cognitive abilities required to constitute social reality and to participate in collective phenomena. Despite the fecundity of all these research agendas within social ontology, little attention has been devoted to fostering a dialogue among these different approaches. On the one hand, the securing of empirical data, as well as the explanations offered by the cognitive sciences, can constrain theoretical debates and refine the suggested categorial frameworks. On the other hand, metaphysical investigations, by critically assessing the implicit assumptions and the ontological commitments of the behavioral sciences, distinguish the ontological layers in which reality is articulated and hence indicate new directions of empirical investigation. Can metaphysical analyses of social facts inform current empirical practice in the cognitive sciences? How might empirical evidence influence social ontologies?

A special issue of the Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences will be devoted to this interdisciplinary dialogue. Possible topics include:
– Collective intentionality and its place within social reality;
– Analyses of social practices;
– Metaphysical conceptions of social facts;
– The relationships between social beliefs and social facts;
– The relations between social practices and social facts;
– Conventions and institutions;
– Analyses of joint attention, action, belief and intention;
– Types of social facts and social objects.

*Practical Information*
Word limit: 8000 words
Deadline for submissions: 15 April 2012
Publication is expected during 2013

Peer review: all submissions will be subject to a double blind peer-review process. Please prepare your submission for blind reviewing.

Submissions should be made directly to the journal’s online submission website (http://www.editorialmanager.com/phen) indicating: special issue “Social Facts: Metaphysical and Empirical Perspectives”.

For further details, please check the website of Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:

http://www.springer.com/philosophy/philosophical+traditions/journal/11097

For any further questions regarding the special issue please contact Alessandro Salice (alessandro.salice@univie.ac.at) or Luca Tummolini (luca.tummolini@istc.cnr.it).

Quelle: OEGP

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