Making the Social World: The Structure of Human Civilization

Paperback | July 6, 2011

byJohn Searle

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There are few more important philosophers at work today than John Searle, a creative and contentious thinker who has shaped the way we think about mind and language. Now he offers a profound understanding of how we create a social reality - a reality of money, property, governments, marriages,stock markets and cocktail parties. The paradox he addresses in Making the Social World is that these facts only exist because we think they exist and yet they have an objective existence. Continuing a line of investigation begun in his earlier book The Construction of Social Reality, Searle identifies the precise role of language inthe creation of all "institutional facts." His aim is to show how mind, language and civilization are natural products of the basic facts of the physical world described by physics, chemistry and biology. Searle explains how a single linguistic operation, repeated over and over, is used to createand maintain 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 then applies the account to show how it relates to human rationality, the freedom of the will, the nature of political power and the existence of universal human rights. In the course of his explication, he asks whether robots can have institutions, why the threat of force so often liesbehind institutions, and he denies that there can be such a thing as a "state of nature" for language-using human beings.

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There are few more important philosophers at work today than John Searle, a creative and contentious thinker who has shaped the way we think about mind and language. Now he offers a profound understanding of how we create a social reality - a reality of money, property, governments, marriages,stock markets and cocktail parties. The par...

John Searle is the Slusser Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Language, University of California, Berkeley. His eighteen books include Mind, Speech Acts, Intentionality, and The Construction of Social Reality.

other books by John Searle

Mind: A Brief Introduction
Mind: A Brief Introduction

Paperback|Jul 29 2005

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see all books by John Searle
Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 6.1 × 9.21 × 0.71 inPublished:July 6, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199829527

ISBN - 13:9780199829521

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Table of Contents

1. The Purpose of This Book2. Intentionality3. Collective Intentionality and the Assignment of Function4. Language as Biological and Social5. The General Theory of Institutions and Institutional Facts: Language and Social Reality6. Free Will, Rationality and Institutional Facts7. Power: Deontic, Background, Political and Other8. Human RightsConcluding Remarks: The Ontological Foundations of the Social Sciences