Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

Constitutive Rules: The Manifest Image and the Deep Image. [Special Issue]

Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy
Keywords: Documentality, Emergence, Intentionalism, Social world


Social objects originate from constitutive rules. But there are two ways of explaining the relationship between them. I call them “Manifest Image” and “Deep Image”. The former depends on Searle’s interpretation of social reality and it is based on collective intentionality; the latter is the one I support and it is based on documentality. Indeed, recordings and documents are sufficient to explain how and why social world exists. There is no need to use such a vague notion, as that of collective intentionality, in order to give a useful account of society. Documents can do it better, especially with the help of the process called emergence, as the case of money clearly shows.

Constitutive rules are rules that constitute social objects. For instance, the rules of tennis constitute the game of tennis, and the rules of the Italian constitution constitute Italy as a state. But constitutive rules do not arise from nothing. Where do they come from? According to Searle (1995 and 2010), constitutive rules are an outcome of collective intentionality.


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