What are groups?

Philosophical Studies 166 (2):257-272 (2013)

Authors
Katherine Ritchie
City College of New York (CUNY)
Abstract
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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DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-0030-5
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References found in this work BETA

Mathematics as a Science of Patterns.Michael D. Resnik - 1997 - New York ;Oxford University Press.
Mathematical Truth.Paul Benacerraf - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (19):661-679.

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Citations of this work BETA

Easy Ontology Without Deflationary Metaontology.Daniel Z. Korman - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1):236-243.
Composition.Daniel Z. Korman & Chad Carmichael - 2016 - Oxford Handbooks Online.
Social Structures and the Ontology of Social Groups.Katherine Ritchie - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Why Can’T I Change Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony?David Friedell - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):805-824.

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