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Faculty of Economics

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Lawson, T.

Ontology and the Study of Social Reality: Emergence, Organisation, Community, Power, Social Relations, Corporations, Artefacts and Money

Cambridge Journal of Economics

Vol. 36(2) pp. 345-385 (2012)

Abstract: The conception of social reality I have previously defended (and here extend), positing features such as social relations, positions and powers, is thoroughly naturalistic and even consistent with modern interpretations of quantum field theory. It also serves to ground a social science that can be scientific in the sense of natural science. This is the thesis defended here. Central to the argument is an emphasis on a ‘strong’ form of emergence and the category of ‘organisation-in-process’. To bring out various salient features of the position defended, I take the opportunity to compare aspects of it with relevant components of the contribution of John Searle, whose ontological conception appears at once to be both very similar yet also very different.

JEL Codes: A10, B40, D20, L10, P00

Author links: Tony Lawson  

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