Are Institutions Created by Collective Acceptance?
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Searle’s Construction of Social Reality
John Searle opines that we create social reality, all institutional facts, ‘things like money, property, governments, and marriages’ (1995, p. 1), by collective acceptance or collective agreement or collective assignment or collective imposition or collective recognition or collective acknowledgment (1995, pp. 1-2, 29, 41, 69, 124; 2006, pp. 13, 16, 17; 2008, p. 29; 2010, p. 94). He uses the different terms almost interchangeably, so I use ‘collective acceptance’ as the disjunction of all of them.
An institutional fact, says Searle, involves the assignment to a person, a thing, or an event, of a status and a corresponding function which cannot be performed by the person, thing, or event in virtue of its intrinsic physical features. Such status functions involve constitutive rules which, rather than regulating a pre-existing activity (as do traffic regulations) bring a new kind of activity into being (as do the rules of a game). The typical form...
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