Proxy agency is the capacity of individuals and groups to act for other individuals or groups in specific social transactions. For example, a legal team acts as a proxy for a client in a courtroom, or the Prime Minister acts as a proxy for the UK Government when attending international meetings, etc. Although a very common social phenomenon, it has not yet received enough philosophical treatment. Currently, the most developed account of this capacity is Ludwig’s proxy agency in collective action. (...) Yet, his account relies on a deflationary, we-content approach to collective intentionality (á la Bratman). In this chapter, I argue that this approach is far too weak to explain proxy agency in institutional contexts—where the individuals and groups formally authorised to perform rule-guided group activities for the principal hold a strong, non-conditional we-commitment. In order to elucidate this feature, I provide an account of proxy agency based on a more robust, we-mode approach to collective intentionality (á la Tuomela). I suggest with this that, for institutional proxy agency to operate as expected, there must be appropriate conditions of sociality in place—which ultimately coheres with the larger project developed by Tuomela on social ontology. (shrink)
In a recent contribution to legal ontology, Kenneth Ehrenberg identifies a puzzle concerning _the basic validity rule_ of legal systems: If formal institutions require a codified foundational constitutive rule, then legal systems cannot be formal institutions, since their foundational constitutive rule is necessarily an uncodified basic validity rule. To solve this puzzle, Ehrenberg suggests taking this rule as ‘a foundational and self-identifying institutional fact’. Here, I challenge his solution and the very existence of this puzzle. By arguing, contra Ehrenberg, that (...) the basic validity rule is not the foundational constitutive rule of a legal system, but only the foundational constitutive rule of legal validity; that its codification in fact contributes towards the institutionalisation of a legal system; and that the true foundational constitutive rule of a legal system is the formal group structure of the higher-constitutional organisations, I submit an alternative account of the institutional nature of legal systems. (shrink)
Following Tuomela, I argue that institutions consist in institutional activities conducive to the realisation (or “satisfaction”) of institutional activity types. Since this realisation is carried out by institutional groups, our having an answer to 'what are institutional groups?' is a necessary step towards a better understanding of what institutions are and how we create them. In this chapter, I offer an answer to this question.
Amie L. Thomasson, the Daniel P. Stone Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy at Dartmouth College, has gained international recognition as a leading figure within various areas of philosophy. She has recently been celebrated as one of the most influential living philosophers for her significant contributions to metaphysics, ontology, phenomenology, and aesthetics. By engaging critically with her approach to metaphysics, modality, conceptual analysis, and the methodological issues concerning ontological questions about ordinary objects, social entities, and fictional characters, as well as (...) including a chapter from Thomasson herself where she makes explicit the internal connections which run through her body of work, this volume delivers the first thorough discussion of Thomasson’s philosophy. (shrink)
Although there is already an important discussion regarding social ontology (a first-order investigation about social entities, e.g., social objects, social events, social relations, and social categories), not much attention has been paid to social meta-ontology (a second-order inquiry concerning what it means and how to answer whether there are any such entities). With the intention to contribute towards bringing the latter into the philosophical spotlight, I submit here a brief survey of the meta-ontological issues about two specific kinds of social (...) entities, viz., social and institutional practices. After elaborating on Thomasson’s easy approach to ontology, I argue that it can be extended to account for the existence of those social entities. (shrink)
In recent years, some prominent legal philosophers have argued both that law (as a legal system) is a certain kind of abstract artifact and that we can elucidate its nature by elucidating its artifactual properties (e.g., authorship, functionality, etc). In this chapter, I present an objection to their arguments and show that law is not an abstract artifact, but rather a composite, concrete entity. I do so by arguing that law is an institutional practice, the purpose of which is for (...) legal organisations to produce legal artifacts (e.g., laws, legal judgements, international treaties, etc) through the performance of legal activities. Based on this, I next provide an ontological analysis of these artifacts by elaborating on the conditions for their creation and maintenance. By distinguishing law as an institutional practice from legal artifacts as institutional objects created by legal organisations, I intend to advance a more precise ontological account of legal phenomena. (shrink)
Amie L. Thomasson, currently appointed Daniel P. Stone Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy at Dartmouth College and celebrated as one of the most influential living philosophers, has gained international recognition as a leading figure in metaphysics, ontology, phenomenology, and aesthetics. Although her extensive body of work stretches far beyond the topic of this book, it is fair to say that her most notable contributions as well as controversial theses lie in her deflationary approach to ontology, which is why it (...) is the selected theme of this volume. (shrink)
This volume contains the proceedings of the Social Ontology, Normativity, and Philosophy of Law conference, which took place on May 30–31, 2019 at the University of Glasgow. At the invitation of the Social Ontology Research Group, a panel of prominent scholars shed light on a range of key topics within social ontology, normativity, and philosophy of law from an interdisciplinary perspective.
Raimo Tuomela, late Professor Emeritus at the Centre for Philosophy of Social Sciences (TINT), University of Helsinki, is widely regarded as one of the most important philosophers of our time. He published extensively on various topics within social philosophy; particularly, on social action, cooperation, group belief, group responsibility, group reasoning, social practices, and institutions. To celebrate his legacy, this volume engages with and delves deeply into his philosophy of sociality. By gathering original essays from a world-class line-up of social ontologists, (...) social action theorists, and social philosophers, this collection provides the first comprehensive and critical treatment of Tuomela's outstanding contribution to social ontology and collective intentionality. (shrink)
Raimo Tuomela (1940-2020) was a leading figure within social philosophy and a pioneer of contemporary social ontology. His main research and publications helped define the scholarly agenda of a philosophical investigation of social reality. Working first on (social) scientific realism and (social) action theory, he then developed an unprecedented account of collective intentionality—the kind of intentionality that individual agents require in order for them to perform intentional actions together, as a group.