Argues against a “mentalistic” picture of the social world. It is often seen as a truism that social objects and facts are the product of human intentions. I argue that the role of intentions in social ontology is commonly overestimated. I introduce a distinction that is implicit in much discussion of social ontology, but is often overlooked: between a social entity’s “grounds” and its “anchors.” For both, I argue that intentions, either individual or collective, are less essential than many theorists have assumed. Instead, I propose a more worldly – and less intellectualist – approach to social ontology.
In Institutions, Emotions, and Group Agents: Contributions to Social Ontology, ed. by Anita Konzelmann Ziv and Hans Bernhard Schmid, pp. 53-68. Dordrecht: Springer, 2013