International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (1):43-67 (2012)
Abstract This paper puts Searle?s social ontology together with an understanding of the human person as inclined openly toward the truth. Institutions and their deontology are constituted by collective Declarative beliefs, guaranteeing mind-world adequation. As this paper argues, often they are constituted also by collective Assertive beliefs that justify (rather than validate intrainstitutionally) institutional facts. A special type of Status Function-creating ?Assertive Declarative? belief is introduced, described, and used to shore up Searle?s account against two objections: that, as based on collective acceptance, Searlean social ontology cannot make sense of dissenters, and that it, as its deontology is all game-like, implies a legal positivism and thus cannot make proper sense of the moral import of sociopolitical institutions. This change is necessary to deepen social ontology?s understanding of human societies and to accurately describe many social, religious, and political institutions as constituted from the perspectives of participants and dissidents.
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