Title

Social Ontology and Varieties of Interpretation: A Hermeneutic Critique of Searle

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-2018

Subject Area

ARRAY(0x5606e7a77a50)

Abstract

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.

Publication Title

Philosophy of the Social Sciences

Volume

48

Issue

2

First Page

192

Last Page

217

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1177/0048393117742336

ISSN

00483931

E-ISSN

15527441

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