Vagueness and social ontology: Implications of inquiry resistant borderline cases for social ontological theorising

Meyenburg, Imko and Turcitu, Ana Maria (2021) Vagueness and social ontology: Implications of inquiry resistant borderline cases for social ontological theorising. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. ISSN 1468-5914

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/jtsb.12314

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to introduce the philosophical concept of vagueness and use it to critique the explanatory scope of social ontology as developed by the Cambridge Social Ontology Group (CSOG), and scholars sympathetic to it. Specifically, we will refer to one of its core theories, the theory of social positioning, to formulate our critique. This theory proposes that human beings and artefacts occupy social positions within emerging social totalities by virtue of receiving community accepted, interdependent, rights and obligations. Vagueness, here, is to be understood as a matter of indeterminacy in borderline cases that pose non-trivial limitations to social positioning. By this we mean to say that there are instances in social ontological theorising that exclude themselves from proper inquiry due to vague terms found in natural languages. As a consequence of these vague terms, theories in social ontology formulated in such languages face limitations when striving for precisification and accuracy of theories. We further argue that these limitations cannot be overcome, but introduce four theories, namely supervaluationsim, epistemicism, truth degree theories and contextualism, which will allow interested readers to understand why these limitations are present. Finally, we consider the controversial theory of ontic vagueness and outline the implications for social ontology.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: language, philosophy of economics, social ontology, social positioning, vagueness
Faculty: Faculty of Business & Law
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2021 14:38
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2022 14:23
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/706929

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