A New Foundation for the Social Sciences? Searle's Misreading of Durkheim

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 45 (1):53-82 (2015)
Jørn Bjerre
University of Aarhus
The aim of John Searle’s philosophy of society is to provide a foundation for the social sciences. Arguing that the study of social reality needs to be based on a philosophy of language, Searle claims that sociology has little to offer since no sociologist ever took language seriously. Attacking Durkheim head-on, Searle not only claims that Durkheim’s project differs from his own but also that Durkheim’s sociology has serious shortcomings. Opposing Searle, this paper argues that Durkheim’s account of social reality is still viable and that Searle’s attack backfires on his own theoretical project
Keywords Searle  downward causation  Durkheim  philosophy  sociology  mind
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DOI 10.1177/0048393114525860
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