What makes something “social”?

We use the term ‘social’ to refer to a wide range of phenomena at different levels of abstraction… and it is very likely that most if not all of the social phenomena we care about as philosophers are complex enough to occur at more than one ontological level.

Is racism really that different from classism, ableism, etc?

They are all social system of group oppression, and this is no superficial ontological feature. Thus the question can be neither whether they are different or not, nor even how deep these differences go. The question has to be how useful is it to treat these systems together, and when it is good to separate them or treat them in smaller groups

Should we stop talking of race, gender, etc.?

Does rejecting the metaphysical reality of races committees us to “resist a policy of providing support to black-owned businesses, or any other race-based prioritization”, presumably, because we would be committed to reject as false the race-talk behind such measures. 

Social Ontology is Ontology

Social ontology is ontology. This might seem too much a truism to be worth stating, but its consequences are far-reaching. On the one hand, its methodology is completely on a par with other fields of ontology, like the ontology of abstract objects, midsize objects, the mind, etc. The consensual methodology in these fields is to […]

Social Ontology and Reductive Conceptions of Philosophy of Disability (The Consequences for Disabled Philosophers)

Over the weekend, disabled philosopher Johnathan Flowers once again tweeted a thread about the ableism of the profession and the exclusion of disabled philosophers of disability. In the course of the thread, Johnathan pointed out how philosophers of disability aren’t recognized as (say) doing metaphysics, as philosophers of language, as politiical philosophers, and so on, […]

Elizabeth Barnes’s Difference Principle and the Limitations of (Their) Analytic Philosophy of Disability

This post comprises excerpts from the chapter that I’m writing for The Oxford Handbook of Social Ontology, edited by Sally Haslanger, Brian Epstein, Hans Bernhard Schmid, and Stephanie Collins and forthcoming next year. In the chapter, I draw upon Tina Fernandes Botts’s work on the methodological differences between analytic philosophy and (so-called) Continental philosophy in […]

(How) Is Disability Relevant to the Field of Social Ontology?

The conception of disability that currently prevails in philosophy construes it as a philosophically uninteresting and value-neutral biological trait, that is, as a self-evidently natural and deleterious characteristic, difference, or property that some people embody or possess. Insofar as philosophers hold this naturalized and individualized conception of disability, they assume that disability is a prediscursive […]

Open Questions in Social Ontology

Hsiang-Yun Chen and Sally Haslanger have just edited an special issue on Social Meaning and Reality for the EurAmerica Journal and it features an article by yours truly. This is how they summarize it on their introduction to the special issue: Just as there is a large variety of social categories that an individual can […]