By Finn Collin
Routledge – 1997 – 272 pages
Series: Problems of Philosophy
Social reality is currently a hotly debated topic not only in social science, but also in philosophy and the other humanities. Finn Collin, in this concise guide, asks if social reality is created by the way social agents conceive of it? Is there a difference between the kind of existence attributed to social and to physical facts - do physical facts enjoy a more independent existence? To what extent is social reality a matter of social convention.
Finn Collin considers a number of traditional doctrines which support the constructivist position that social reality is generated by our 'interpretation' of it. He also examines the way social facts are contingent upon the meaning invested in them by social agents; the nature of social convention; the status of social facts as symbolic; the ways in which socially shared language is claimed to generate the reality described, as well as the limitations of some of the over-ambitious popular arguments for social constructivism.
'One of the remarkable things about the book is its philosophical sophistication in bringing to bear recent work on matters of social thought … It is exceptionally written - lucid and plain in an arena that is fraught with stridency.' - Ian Jarvie, York University