Short Course Description
This course will focus on the metaphysics of the social world: socially created things like money, artifacts, works of art and establishments, but also elements of the social fabric itself, like countries, corporations, state institutions, and informal collectives like a reading group. Social objects often display unusual features. For one, it's often hard to say what they really are. A corporation, for instance, doesn't seem like a physical object (if it is, how much does it weigh? Etc.), but nor can it simply be the set of its members, since those members could get replaced over time. Furthermore, the nature of a social object is often determined by factors that seem unimportant in the case of natural objects: anything that is physically indistinguishable from a water droplet is itself a water droplet, but not everything that is physically indistinguishable from a bill or a work of art is itself a bill or a work of art. In this course we will study metaphysical questions about various different kinds of social objects, the way they challenge our ordinary ways of classification, and how they could inform work in the philosophy of the social sciences.
Full syllabus will be available to registered students only
Requirements: final work, reading responses and mandatory attendance
Concluding work: final work
Grade components: 60% final work, 20% reading responses, 20% participation