Making the Social World: The Structure of Human Civilization

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John Searle: Making the Social World. The Structure of Human Civilization. Axel Buehler, Handle: RePEc:rmm:journl:vyi as.

More about this item Keywords ontology ; social institutions ; social reality ; commitment ; speech act ; social science ; Statistics Access and download statistics. Corrections All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. Louis Fed. Authors Affiliations are at time of print publication. Print Save Cite Email Share. Show Summary Details. Subscriber Login Email Address. Library Card. View: no detail some detail full detail. Concluding Remarks.

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Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. May 23, Richard added it. I enjoy reading Searle because of the clarity with which he presents his ideas. A case in point is Searle's discussion of power. Searle would have us distinguish between power as potential and the exercise of power. Further, he contends that when discussing the exercise of power in human affairs it is important for our understanding to attend to both the intentional content of the exercise of power AND exactly who is doing what to whom.

With these definitional constraints in mind Searle follow I enjoy reading Searle because of the clarity with which he presents his ideas. With these definitional constraints in mind Searle follows with a short critique of Foucault's concept of "Bio power" making clear his own dissatisfaction with the Foucault's amorphous conceptualizations.

However, while Searle's theory of the social construction of reality via iterative performences of status function statements I wonder to what extent Searle's own thought has sufficient explanatory power View 1 comment. Sep 21, Adam Gurri rated it it was amazing. It's hard for me to review this book with any detachment; I've read too much Searle already, and this book directly addresses too many specific questions that I have had. Along the way are discussions of the mind, language, and power relations, any of which would be h It's hard for me to review this book with any detachment; I've read too much Searle already, and this book directly addresses too many specific questions that I have had.

Along the way are discussions of the mind, language, and power relations, any of which would be helpful on its own but put together adds up to quite a lot more than the sum of its parts. The book does have significant weaknesses, however, at least from my point of view. While we live in an age that undervalues the wisdom of drawing distinctions, Searle has perhaps gone too far in the other direction. He makes a dizzying array of distinctions, couched in jargon that are either borrowed from the analytic philosophy tradition or are his own. There are definitely times when it seems he is strictly sticking with a distinction that doesn't make a difference; in his discussion of Foucault for example, there were moments when it seemed as though he were merely saying that Foucault used the word "power" in a different sense than Searle does but ultimately he does discuss Foucault more substantively.

John Searle - The Normative Structure of Human Civilization

It also has a bit of a last chapter problem, which begins in the last third of the next to last chapter. When he ventures into the specifics of modern democracies, and in his last chapter on human rights, the discussion feels far too much like someone who is cozy with the assumptions of their historical moment and their particular culture. This is in sharp contrast with the rest of the book, which is careful and precise to a fault.


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Searle has the to me annoying tendency of putting things into formal logic, but he is also very careful to restate it in plain English, and then rephrase both, offering several forms of the logic that are equivalent but more or less readable depending on who you are I suppose , and different plain English explanations. The result risks seeming repetitive but minimizes that chances that you will be left behind. Which is important, because there are a lot of moving parts in Searle's system. I am still processing it all but it seems to me that there is a great deal which must be correct, or more pragmatically , is an extremely useful lens through which to understand the nature of human social reality.

So again I say: if you are interested in understanding language, power relations, status, and institutions, you owe it to yourself to give this remarkably short and remarkably comprehensive book a read. Unlike Searle's original The Construction of Social Reality , this book jumps around quite a bit and attempts to tie Searle's accounts of social reality to a wide array of domains. I think that's an ambitious and worthwhile thing to do, especially since the social world is supposed to be tied in to so much. The purpose of the book is to take Searle's original theories, refine and correct them, and eventually ensure that they are being appropriately applied where and how he hopes to apply them.

The Unlike Searle's original The Construction of Social Reality , this book jumps around quite a bit and attempts to tie Searle's accounts of social reality to a wide array of domains. The problem with the book is that this is too ambitious a goal to be accomplished in such a short piece. Searle prides himself on being witty and pithy without losing depth, and often he is. Much of this book has his depth and his wit; it also has his clarity. All of these are good things. The problem is that it doesn't have the cohesion itself, with the excepting element of its being written by and about the ideas of John Searle.

I still think that the book is important, and a worthwhile read for those readers who are interested in Searle, but if you're interested in a particular mode of application of Searle's theories, try to find a paper he's written on that dimension, because it's likely that trying to work through this will leave you frustrated. Overall, the book is fine. I don't want that one knock on it to sound like I'm venting a ton of frustration.

I think that his ideas are important, and incredibly useful for a lot of social scientists who are trying to construct simple philosophical theories within which to work. Searle allows for a good social theory that behaves well with contemporary philosophy of science and mainstream understanding of science. As a philosopher mediating between theorists and scientists, I think Searle is enormously underappreciated though that's in part due to his own unwillingness to be the conciliatory figure; he doesn't want that role and doesn't have the temperament to allow it to be thrust upon him.

But I also don't think this is his strongest piece of writing on the subject. Apr 20, Clint rated it liked it. You will never look at money, police, or picnics in the same way. He admits that his analysis cannot give an account for human consciousness to be fair, no one can , but Searle does take you from pre-linguistic expression, to representation, to language, then all the way to Status Function Declarations. He does this in such a way that helps the reader understand how we build and maintain massive, invisible social structures.

His accounting of individual and collective intentionality will also s You will never look at money, police, or picnics in the same way. His accounting of individual and collective intentionality will also set some of your paradigms on fire. My only critique: he constrains himself to two arbitrary and unnecessarily limiting conditions of adequacy - I realize those two conditions drive the whole argument, but it still seems to stop him too short.

Aug 19, Adam Calhoun added it. Mar 23, Kramer Thompson rated it liked it.

Making the social world : the structure of human civilization - John R. Searle - Google книги

As always, Searle's writing was extremely clear and engaging. I've never read anything in this area before, and I found his explication of how human institutions are created through collective intentionality, or more simply, collective recognition quiet plausible. He contends that institutions are basically sets of power relations that are generally recognised, and I find this similarly plausible.

The main point of disagreement that I found between his account and what I find plausible is that As always, Searle's writing was extremely clear and engaging. The main point of disagreement that I found between his account and what I find plausible is that he contends that the existence of institutions provides desire-independent reason for action. This scepticism might be due to my prior normative commitments, but it's worth noting.

Dec 16, Toby rated it it was amazing Shelves: So fundamental for social science is the ontology. Interesting model. May 08, Billie Pritchett rated it it was amazing Shelves: john-searle. I'm mainly on board with this short book, with some minor quibbles about the discussion on human rights.

References

John Searle in Making the Social World tries to give an account as to how human beings create a social world out all, how the human social world is an extension of the natural world. The key component is the human faculty for language, according to Searle. Language allows us to think about the world in more complex ways, to apply new concepts to the world that did not exist. This view might se I'm mainly on board with this short book, with some minor quibbles about the discussion on human rights.

This view might seem strange but just think for a moment about complicated concepts that we deal with everyday, the idea of which you could not have without language. Take the concept of a financial crisis , for example. A financial crisis can occur for a whole host of reasons. In the United States, there was almost complete economic collapse out of the subprime housing mortgage loans defaulted. These complicated kinds of activities are ways in which we are thinking about the world in ways that any other animal could not symbolically represent them.

Financial crisis, subprime mortgage, loan default , and so on are all concepts we have imposed upon the world for our own interests and purposes. Complicated social reality as a result of the human capacity for language is one of the basic conclusions, and you can read more in the book to see what Searle means if you don't quite understand my explanation. I would like to address one interesting discussion in the book, one that I am trying to come to terms with and which for all I know may be true, and that is how human rights are created.

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First, to try to answer the question as to whether or not human rights are real or subjective might not get us very far, according to Searle, unless we make some basic distinctions. In a sense, human rights are both real and a product of the human mind, but this needs to be properly understood.

Human rights are a product of the human mind in that we impose them onto social relations but once they have been so imposed as a construction of the mind they are as real as anything else. Take, for instance, freedom from harm. Freedom from harm is an imposition onto social relations to the extent that we all recognize that we have certain obligations and responsibilities not to harm others, and by way of the imposition of this human right, we all hope that the right will receive widespread recognition since it is more as less generalizable and acceptable to others.

Searle's account of rights here still seems too thin to me.


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