What are groups?
- Katherine RitchieAffiliated withUniversity of Texas at Austin Email author
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In this paper I argue for a view of groups, things like teams, committees, clubs and courts. I begin by examining features all groups seem to share. I formulate a list of six features of groups that serve as criteria any adequate theory of groups must capture. Next, I examine four of the most prominent views of groups currently on offer—that groups are non-singular pluralities, fusions, aggregates and sets. I argue that each fails to capture one or more of the criteria. Last, I develop a view of groups as realizations of structures. The view has two components. First, groups are entities with structure. Second, since groups are concreta, they exist only when a group structure is realized. A structure is realized when each of its functionally defined nodes or places are occupied. I show how such a view captures the six criteria for groups, which no other view of groups adequately does, while offering a substantive answer to the question, “What are groups?”
KeywordsMetaphysics of social science Ontology Structuralism
- What are groups?
Volume 166, Issue 2 , pp 257-272
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- Springer Netherlands
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- Metaphysics of social science
- Author Affiliations
- 1. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA