Making the Social World

Making the Social World : The Structure of Human Civilization

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The renowned philosopher John Searle reveals the fundamental nature of social reality. What kinds of things are money, property, governments, nations, marriages, cocktail parties, and football games? Searle explains the key role played by language in the creation, constitution, and maintenance of social reality.
We make statements about social facts that are completely objective, for example: Barack Obama is President of the United States, the piece of paper in my hand is a twenty-dollar bill, I got married in London, etc. And yet these facts only exist because we think they exist. How is it possible that we can have factual objective knowledge of a reality that is created by subjective opinions? This is part of a much larger question: How can we give an account of ourselves, with our peculiar human
traits DS mind, reason, freedom, society - in a world that we know independently consists of mindless, meaningless particles? How can we account for our social and mental existence in a realm of brute physical facts?
In answering this question, Searle avoids postulating different realms of being, a mental and a physical, or worse yet, a mental, a physical, and a social. There is just one reality: Searle shows how the human reality fits into that one reality. Mind, language, and civilization are natural products of the basic facts of the physical world described by physics, chemistry and biology. Searle explains how language creates and maintains the elaborate structures of human social institutions. These
institutions serve to create and distribute power relations that are pervasive and often invisible. These power relations motivate human actions in a way that provides the glue that holds human civilization together. Searle shows how this account illuminates human rationality, free will, political
power, and human rights. Our social world is a world created and maintained by language.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 153 x 228 x 13mm | 336g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0199695261
  • 9780199695263
  • 97,202

Table of contents

1. The Purpose of this Book ; 2. Intentionality ; 3. Collective Intentionality and the Assignment of Function ; 4. Language as Bilogical and Social ; 5. The General Theory of Institutions and Institutional Facts: Language and Social Reality ; 6. Free Will, Rationality and Institutional Facts ; 7. Deontic, Background, Political and Other
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Review Text

Review from previous edition stimulating and vigorous Colin McGinn, New York Review of Books
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Review quote

Review from previous edition stimulating and vigorous * Colin McGinn, New York Review of Books * Making the Social World is graced with a positive charm with which Searle confronts the cynicism if our time. * Tribune * may be recommended to newcomers to [Searle's] philosophy as a lively introductory overview of many of his current research themes and of some of his past research achievements. * Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews * Making the Social World has no doubt been greatly anticipated by Searle's many colleagues and critics, as his project has generated considerable interest. Searle's project should make a significant contribution to the philosophy of the social sciences. * Metapsychology *
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About John Searle

John Searle, Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, is one of the most eminent contemporary philosophers. Educated at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, he taught at Christ Church Oxford before moving to Berkeley, where he has been teaching since 1959. His eighteen published books include Speech Acts (1969), Expression and Meaning (1979), Intentionality (1983), The Rediscovery of the Mind (1992),
The Construction of Social Reality (1995), and Rationality in Action (2002). Among his many prizes and awards he received the Jean Nicod prize in 2000 and the National Humanities Medal in 2004.
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Rating details

199 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 31% (61)
4 34% (68)
3 24% (48)
2 9% (17)
1 3% (5)
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