The Construction of Social Reality, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


This short treatise looks at how we construct a social reality from our sense impressions; at how, for example, we construct a 'five-pound note' with all that implies in terms of value and social meaning, from the printed piece of paper we see and touch.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256 pages, index
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Philosophy of language
  • ISBN: 9780140235906



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Searle is deeply interested in how we enrich the raw reality of our physical world with complex cultural trappings such as cathedrals and ceremonies, games and government, language and licenses, money and marriage, and tax and tickets. The functioning and relevance of such concepts rests entirely on a communal belief in their validity. That acceptance affords a societal status to certain people, associations, processes, acts and objects. Without this added status, the social entities are absent. His explanations of how these come about are careful and well presented. Indeed, it is a pleasure to read Searle’s account. He is not one of those modern philosophers who tries to impress, shock or confuse. Instead he makes a lot of sense. However, be prepared, he does sometimes intend a technical meaning for some everyday words (eg intentional, propositional and aspectual). That he feels it is necessary to defend an existence for external reality is a sorry state for modern philosophy. Nevertheless he explains clearly why one should assert there is an external world that impinges on our senses, a rational world we all share. This world is the necessary base stock upon which our society grafts our rich and interesting cultural world.

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