“Searle’s Foole: How a Constructionist Account of Society Cannot Substitute for a Causal One”

In The Construction of Social Reality, John Searle promises a causal account of how social facts are constructed by human acts of intention, but specifically disavows a special theoretical space in that account for human motivation. This paper argues that such a story as Searle tells cannot serve as a causal account of society. A causal account must illuminate motivations, because doing so illuminates the aims and interests lacking which we cannot explain why these social practices come to be and not potential others. Thus Searle’s would-be account of society has a problem analogous to that of Hobbes, which Hobbes’s own Foole poses, and that Hobbes never answers to anyone’s satisfaction.
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