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Call for Papers: Synthese
Call for papers Synthese Topical Issue
Deadline: 4 April 2022
The meta-metaphysics of social ontology
Guest-Editors: Esa Diaz-Leon, Francesco Guala, Harold Kincaid, Raphaël Künstler
Our lives are oriented not only towards natural, but also social entities: Institutions, marriages, firms, classes, genders, races, and so on. The social sciences investigate how all these interact with each other and with individual people. Political struggles generally aim at transforming these social entities: What rules should govern a fair society? What are the legitimate constitutive parts of a marriage? How should different contributions to a firm be differentially compensated?
Despite their centrality to our ordinary, scientific, and political lives, social entities remain metaphysically mysterious. What are their fundamental constituents? Are social entities sui generis? How to locate these entities and their properties within the natural world? Should they be eliminated, reduced or regarded as primitive?
Social ontology is now a rapidly growing field of investigation, attracting the attention of more and more metaphysicians with very different approaches. To build a good social ontology, some authors think it suffices to rely on the standard tools of analytical philosophy: conceptual analysis, intuition, thought experiments, formalization, grounding. Others contend that social ontology should be informed by the social sciences. Still others argue that social ontology is a form of descriptive metaphysics, while others believe, that the specificity of social entities requires an “ameliorative conceptual analysis”. This increasing diversity of approaches raises a concern: if we cannot agree on how even to practice social ontology, our current efforts will be at cross-purposes.
Following Ross and Ladyman’s vigorous attack on traditional metaphysics in favor of a scientific metaphysics, meta-metaphysics itself has become a lively field of philosophical debate. Many ways of articulating science and metaphysics have been proposed: Among others, neo-positivist metaphysics, metaphysics as modeling, moderately naturalized metaphysics, and metaphysics as a kind of toolbox. The meta-metaphysical value of grounding theory is the topic of much discussion, but also the relation of metaphysical inquiry to common sense and normative (including religious) beliefs.
In short, it seems now both urgent and possible to discuss the ways meta-metaphysics can be applied to social ontology in order to help it to produce philosophically, scientifically and politically better results.
Appropriate topics for submission include, among others:
· Do current meta-metaphysical debates apply to social ontology? If yes, how? If no, why?
· What are the various kinds of social ontologies on offer?
· What is the relation between social ontology and the social sciences? Can social ontology help the social sciences to overcome their disagreements? Should social ontology be naturalized? If yes, how should this naturalization be conceived?
· Are descriptive social ontology and descriptive natural ontology methodologically identical? Can a social ontology be revisionist? If yes, what is the relation between descriptive and revisionist social ontologies?
· What is the relation between social ontology and political struggle?
· Can the conceptual and formal tools (supervenience, grounding, etc.) used in the philosophy of nature or in the philosophy of mind be applied also to social ontology?
· What meta-metaphysical lessons could be drawn from the history of social ontology and the social sciences?
· Many debates in social ontology, such as questions about the nature of gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, and so on, are politically significant precisely because these human traits are the target of discrimination. Is this normative dimension of social ontology relevant with regards to questions about the meta-metaphysics of social ontology?
Manuscripts should be submitted via Synthese Editorial Manager: http://www.editorialmanager.com/synt between December 1, 2021, and April 4, 2022.
For further information, please contact Raphaël Künstler
raphael.kunstler [at] univ.tlse2.fr
Call for Papers: Philosophy of the Social Sciences
From time to time Philosophy of the Social Sciences publishes special issues or sections of issues. Characteristically these are a themed symposium, or a cluster of reactions to a recent book. These special issues are in addition to the regular publication of selections of papers from the meetings of the Roundtable, ENPOSS, and the ANPOSS. The initiative for these special issues and their execution comes from the organizers and they invariably act as guest editors, assuming all the duties normally carried out by the standing editors of the journal.
We draw attention to this in order to encourage scholars to consider making proposals to us for future special issues. All sorts of possibilities exist: surveys of the literature and assessments of progress or lack of it; new books and ideas; revisiting classics and classic debates. Here are few suggestions:
Does the programme of the Unity of Science survive other than as an historical artefact?
Why does naturalism get favourable treatment? Is it deserved?
What role does metaphysics play in the progress (or regress) of the social sciences?
What happens to refuted social theories? Do they really disappear or do they reappear in a ‘new and improved’ guise?
Are social technologies simply the application of social scientific theories that may or may not be true? Or are social technologies a source of genuine epistemological innovation?
Are there any philosophically deep lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic for our understanding of the role of expertise in democracies?
We ask colleagues interested in compiling materials for a special issue to send us a prospectus that indicates the central questions to discuss and the names of contributors. The organizers should be willing to referee and edit the materials on the table time to be agreed.
New Book: Gérald Bronner and Francesco Di Iorio, The Mystery of Rationality. Mind, Beliefs and the Social Sciences, Springer, Cham (2018)
CONTRIBUTORS: Joseph Agassi (Tel Aviv University and York University), Peter Boettke (George Mason University), Alban Bouvier (Institut Jean Nicod, ENS), Enzo Di Nuoscio (UniMol), Paul Dumouchel (Ritsumeikan University), Shaun Gallagher (University of Memphis), Herbert Gintis (Santa Fe Institute), Ian Jarvie (York University), Roger Frantz (San Diego University), Daniel Little (University of Michigan-Dearborn), Pierre Livet (Aix-Marseille University), Leslie Marsh (University of British Columbia), Karl-Dieter Opp (Leipzig University and and University of Washington), Emmanuel Picavet (Sorbonne Paris 1 University)
OVERVIEW: Analysis of the concept of rationality is a leitmotiv in the history of the social sciences and has involved endless disputes. Since it is difficult to give a precise definition of this concept, and there is a lack of agreement about its meaning, it is possible to say that there is a ‘mystery of rationality’. What is it to be rational? Is rationality merely instrumental or does it also involve the endorsement of values, i.e. the choice of goals? Should we consider rationality to be a normative principle or a descriptive one? Can rationality be only Cartesian or can it also be argumentative? Is rationality a conscious skill or a partly tacit one? This book, which has been written by an outstanding collection of authors, including both philosophers and social scientists, tries to make a useful contribution to the debates on these problems and shed some light on the mystery of rationality.
For more information, click here.
Call for Papers: Philosophical Journal of Conflict and Violence – PJCV
Special Issue on Technology and Armed Forces (guest edited by Dr. Alexander C. Leveringhaus, University of Surrey).
For more information, click on the link below: