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A. dos S. Gouvea, Rodrigo (30. December 2011): A Non-Reductionist Solution to the Problem of Social Causation. XXII. Deutscher Kongress für Philosophie, 11. - 15. September 2011, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.


The thesis of the causal closure of the physical world renders mental and social causation philosophically problematic. In The Construction of Social Reality, John Searle offers a partial solution to the problem of the causal efficacy of social and institutional facts by an appeal to the notion of the Background, or, as I will argue, by an appeal to its physical components. Since Searle's solution refers to physical facts in order to explain social causation, it does not seem to differ from the solution offered by reductive physicalists to the problem of mental causation. In this paper, I will discuss both responses to these two problems of higher-order causation. As a result of this investigation, the paper offers an account of how and to what extent does Searle's solution solve the problem of the causal efficacy of social facts, without implying their reducibility to physical facts.