David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Studies 166 (2):257-272 (2013)
In this paper I argue for a view of groups, things like teams, committees, clubs and courts. I begin by examining features all groups seem to share. I formulate a list of six features of groups that serve as criteria any adequate theory of groups must capture. Next, I examine four of the most prominent views of groups currently on offer—that groups are non-singular pluralities, fusions, aggregates and sets. I argue that each fails to capture one or more of the criteria. Last, I develop a view of groups as realizations of structures. The view has two components. First, groups are entities with structure. Second, since groups are concreta, they exist only when a group structure is realized. A structure is realized when each of its functionally defined nodes or places are occupied. I show how such a view captures the six criteria for groups, which no other view of groups adequately does, while offering a substantive answer to the question, “What are groups?”
|Keywords||Metaphysics of social science Ontology Structuralism|
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References found in this work BETA
Theodore Sider (2001). Four Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time. Oxford University Press.
Stewart Shapiro (1997). Philosophy of Mathematics: Structure and Ontology. Oxford University Press.
Michael D. Resnik (1997). Mathematics as a Science of Patterns. New York ;Oxford University Press.
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Citations of this work BETA
Katherine Ritchie (2015). The Metaphysics of Social Groups. Philosophy Compass 10 (5):310-321.
Tobias Hansson Wahlberg (2014). Institutional Objects, Reductionism and Theories of Persistence. Dialectica 68 (4):525-562.
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