Social Ontology and Documentality

  • Maurizio FerrarisEmail author
Part of the Law, Governance and Technology Series book series (LGTS, volume 1)


Social objects exist, the proof being the difference between thinking to promise something, and actually promising something: once you give your word, the promise keeps on existing, even in case you forget about it, or—as more frequently happens—you change your mind. The first aim of this article is to expand on the nature of social objects, as contrasted with physical and ideal objects, and to spell out the steps that lead to their discovery. Secondly, I will illustrate and criticize the major contemporary theory on social objects, John Searle’s theory, and compare it with another theory, according to which social objects are a kind of inscription. Lastly, I want show how, from this standpoint, a social ontology evolves naturally into a theory of documents, which I propose to name “documentality”.


Physical Object Ideal Object Social Object Physical Substrate Social Ontology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of TorinoTurinItaly

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