Social facts: metaphysical and empirical perspectives—an introduction
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Social reality is complex. It encompasses a diverse array of phenomena such as money, marriage, debt, universities, driving licenses, and cocktail parties, as well as the many (joint) actions in which we engage on a daily basis: tango dancing, cooking Sauce Béarnaise together, pushing cars, painting houses, etc. These phenomena have pervasive effects on our daily lives and constantly influence our decisions. Since they are presupposed by much of what we do, it seems absurd to even argue against their existence. Still, a look at their structure rapidly reveals how intertwined these sorts of facts are with the beliefs, linguistic uses and collective practices of a community. One might hence wonder how genuine their being actually is and how their mode of existence should be framed: Understanding the hybrid nature of these phenomena is one of the prominent tasks of social ontology to which this Special Issue is devoted.
This collection is driven by two purposes, which seem to contradict...