Social Ontology and Varieties of Interpretation: A Hermeneutic Critique of Searle
The essay probes the limits of social ontology as a grounding project for interpretation and explanation in the social sciences. The argument proceeds by challenging the exemplary and influential ontology of John Searle by means of Jim Bohman’s hermeneutic approach. While both share the interest in establishing the validity basis of social-scientific claims, Bohman reconstructs in this regard the situated standpoint of the hermeneutic interpreter, in contrast to Searle’s building block approach to social reality. A careful analysis of Bohman’s argumentation reveals the need for differentiating a variety of interpretive stances, which leads back to important revisions of the intentionality-based social ontology of Searle. The discussion results in the need to ground methodological pluralism in a universal hermeneutics of interpretive capabilities to safeguard the social sciences against relativistic as well as metaphysical challenges.
Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Kögler. (2018). Social Ontology and Varieties of Interpretation: A Hermeneutic Critique of Searle. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 48(2), 192–217. https://doi.org/10.1177/0048393117742336