Social ontology, practical reasonableness, and collective reasons for action

I argue that the ontology of human social institutions and collective intentionality could be anchored in the normative notion of ‘practical reasonableness’ as collective reason for action. This involves the deontic idea of mutuality, accepted rules, and shared attitudes of other‐regardedness. I examine John Searle’s three primitive notions of social ontology: collective intentionality, assignment of social functions, and constitutive rules and procedures. I use these notions to provide a plausible basis for understanding how people reason, in order to arrive at practically reasonable decisions and collective agency. Searle argues that social reality, institutions, processes, and facts are grounded in collective intentionality and the acceptance of social rules, procedures, and functions. I argue that collective intentionality and socially accepted rules are anchored in the need for human interdependence that engenders the social rules and norms or attitudes of ‘practical reasonableness’. I analyze the concept of ‘practical reasonableness’ as a representation of human mode of reasoning that involves collective intentionality.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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