Cinta de Moebio: Revista de Epistemología de Ciencias Sociales

Venables, J.P. (2016) Aportes para una ontología social realista. Cinta moebio 56: 172-186. doi: 10.4067/S0717-554X2016000200005


Contributions for a realist social ontology

Juan Pablo Venables ( Instituto de Historia y Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Austral de Chile (Valdivia, Chile) ORCID: 0000-0001-6576-646X


Although the link between epistemic and ontological aspects of social reality has always been a problematic issue for the social sciences, this debate loses centrality from the second half of the twentieth century. This article critically reviews the epistemic reasons for that loss, mainly in relation with "hard" constructivism, arguing for the need to return to the ontological debate about sociological foundations. At the same time, it presents a theoretical proposal: social ontology constitutes itself epistemically; that is, the question about “the social” inevitably involves the question about beliefs that constitute it. But social reality is not exhausted in beliefs, since it requires a material component to exist. From this proposal, this paper makes an explicit defense for a realist approach in sociology. To do this, critically reviews John Searle’s social ontology and makes concretes contributions to sociological theory, emphasizing the importance of action, power and causal reciprocity between individual and society, to have a social ontology that shows the specificity of the social.

Key words: social ontology, realism, John Searle, causal reciprocity, constructivism

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Cinta de Moebio
Revista de Epistemología de Ciencias Sociales
ISSN 0717-554X