Rationality in Action: A Symposium

Philosophical Explorations 4 (2):66-94 (2001)
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Abstract

Searle’s tool for understanding culture, law and society is the opposition between brute reality and institutional reality, or in other words between: observer-independent features of the world, such as force, mass and gravitational attraction, and observer-relative features of the world, such as money, property, marriage and government. The question posed here is: under which of these two headings do moral concepts fall? This is an important question because there are moral facts – for example pertaining to guilt and responsibility – which hover uncomfortably close to the boundary between the observer-relative and the observer-independent. By means of a thought experiment involving an imagined Chinese society in which guilt is determined by the random throwing of sticks, I seek to show that moral concepts threaten the foundations of Searle’s philosophy of social reality.

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Author Profiles

Leo Zaibert
Union College
Barry Smith
University at Buffalo

Citations of this work

Reasons as Premises of Good Reasoning.Jonathan Way - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (2).
How Does Coherence Matter?Niko Kolodny - 2007 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 107 (1pt3):229 - 263.
Grounding Pluralism: Why and How.Kevin Richardson - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (6):1399-1415.
The Phenomenology of Agency.Tim Bayne - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (1):182-202.

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References found in this work

Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind.John R. Searle - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
A treatise of human nature.David Hume & D. G. C. Macnabb (eds.) - 1977 - New York: Dutton.
Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John Rogers Searle - 1969 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

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