Social Ontology: Metaphysical and Empirical Perspectives

21 Sep 2011 - 09:00 to 23 Sep 2011 - 09:00
Luiss Guido Carli University Viale Pola 12 00198 - Rome - Italy

II Conference of the European Network on Social Ontology (ENSO) 


Social facts influence our decisions and have pervasive effects on our daily lives. At the same time, they seem to be constituted by the beliefs and practices of a community. Understanding the hybrid nature of this type of entities is a prominent task of social ontology.

Nowadays different metaphysical approaches aim to describe the ontological profile of social facts and to determine their categorial framework. On the one hand, these approaches often proceed without taking into account the empirical evidence offered by cognitive and social sciences, even if such evidence might help to constrain theoretical debates and to refine the conceptual frameworks. On the other hand, such metaphysical accounts – by critically assessing the implicit assumptions and the ontological commitments of social sciences – are able to inspire new directions of empirical
investigation. Can metaphysical inquiries on the nature of social facts inform current empirical practice in the cognitive and social sciences? How might empirical evidence influence the debate between alternative metaphysical pictures?

In order to foster such interdisciplinary dialogue, the principal aim of the workshop is to bring together scholars from different theoretical and empirical disciplines addressing the following topics (the list is not exhaustive):

  • Analyses of social practices from different philosophical (e.g. phenomenological or analytic) perspectives as well as from psychological or sociological approaches;
  • Metaphysical conceptions of social facts from different theoretical traditions;
  • The relations between social beliefs and social facts;
  • The relations between social practices and social facts;
  • Conventions and institutions;
  • Analyses of joint attention, action, belief and intention;
  • Types of social facts and social objects.


Invited speakers
Cristiano Castelfranchi (Rome, Italy)
Maurizio Ferraris (Turin, Italy)
Francesco Guala (Milan, Italy)
Byron Kaldis (Athens, Greece)
Elisabeth Pacherie (Paris, France)
Hannes Rakoczy (Göttingen, Germany)
Hans-Bernhard Schmid (Basel, Switzerland)
Raimo Tuomela (Helsinki, Finland / Munich, Germany)