Causally Redundant Social Objects: Rejoinder to Elder-Vass

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In Elder-Vass’s response to my (2014) it is maintained: (1) that a social object is not identical with but is merely composed of its suitably interrelated parts; (2) that a social object is necessarily indistinguishable in terms of its causal capacities from its interrelated parts; and (3) that ontological individualism lacks an adequate ontological justification (Elder-Vass forthcoming). In this reply, I argue that in view of (1) the so-called redescription principle defended by Elder-Vass ought to be reformulated and renamed; that the conjunction of (1) and (2) renders social objects causally redundant; and that ontological individualism can be coherently formulated and theoretically justified within Elder-Vass’s own metaphysics of objects with causal powers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-809
JournalPhilosophy of the Social Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Philosophy


  • causal power
  • critical realism
  • emergence
  • mereology
  • ontological individualism
  • social structure


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