When one tries to seriously work interdisciplinary orientation often becomes difficult, because for most human beings it is not feasible to read all of the top publications in two disciplines. I know this from my own experience in the case of philosophy and sociology. Accordingly most sociologists who are interested in taking philosophical findings into account, will have a hard time doing so. For this reason I put together a reading list, which offers some orientation for sociologists which are interested in analytic metaphysics. I am construing the label “analytic metaphysics” broadly and also include texts, which argue for the existence of group agents.
Clearly this reading list is informed by my own interests and people with other interests might find other text more useful. Use the comments to share your own suggestions. Here is my own selection sorted alphabetically:
- Epstein – The Ant Trap
- Gilbert – On Social Facts
- List and Spiekermann – Methodological Individualism and Holism in Political Science (paper)
- Pettit – The Common Mind
- Pettit and Schweikard – Joint Actions and Group Agents (paper)
- Rudder Baker – The Metaphysics of Everyday Life
- Sawyer – Nonreductive Individualism Part I & II (papers)
- Schmitt (ed.) – Socializing Metaphysics (edited collection)
- Searle – The Construction of Social Reality
- Tollefsen – Groups as Agents
One might wonder why I included Lynne Rudder Baker’s The Metaphysics of Everyday life, since it is not exactly focussed on social issues, although they are touched upon. My reasoning was that sociologists need a basic metaphysics of the everyday life because much of their research happens at this level. They might not need to commit to the metaphysics of everyday life as proposed by Lynne Rudder Baker, but her book is a good point to start thinking about the topic in general. She also gives quite a lot of importance to the social compared to other metaphysicians.
Generally the list has a slight tendency of focus on the debates on group agency since this is what I have mostly worked on. I did not include texts which are solely focussed on joint actions, however. So there is no Michael Bratman on this list. Perhaps I will make another list on joint action at some point.
If you think I have missed anything or to emphasise one of my choices use the comments.