Collective Intentionality, Self-referentiality, and False Beliefs: Some Issues Concerning Institutional Facts. Comment to John R. Searle "Social Ontology and the Philosophy of Society"

Analyse & Kritik 21 (2):237-250 (1999)

J. R. Searle's general theory of social and institutional reality, as deployed in some of his recent work, raises many deep and interesting problems. Four issues are taken up here: Searle's claim to the effect that collective intentionality is a primitive, irreducible form of intentionality; his account of one of the most puzzling features of institutional concepts, their having a self-referential component; the question as to the point, or points, of having institutions; Searle's claim to the effect that false beliefs on the part of the members of the relevant community are compatible with the existence of related institutional facts. It is argued that, under all four respects, Searle's theory proves to be hardly satisfactory.
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