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 humantraits 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. Theseinstitutions 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, politicalpower, and human rights. Our social world is a world created and maintained by language.
Making the Social World : The Structure of Human Civilization - John Searle
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