Chapter 7 endnote 8, from Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:
Money is a classic example of social reality. [...] Ernst Cassirer anticipated the idea of social reality
The noted philosopher John Searle characterized social reality as a transformation. A perceiver-independent object, event, or property (say, a piece of green paper) transforms into something new (a one-dollar bill) that has perceiver-dependent functions (purchasing power) in some context (the U.S. economy).
Searle’s rule is:
- X becomes Y in C
- X is a perceiver-independent object, event, or property
- Y is a new outcome that has perceiver-dependent functions
- C is the context in which this transformation occurs.
The functions do not derive from the physical basis of Y.
The idea of social reality was anticipated by the German philosopher of culture Ernst Cassirer who wrote in the early 20th century, “Man has, as it were, discovered a new method of adapting himself to his environment [...] which we may describe as the symbolic system. This new acquisition transforms the whole of human life. As compared with the other animals man lives not merely in a broader reality; he lives, so to speak, in a new dimension of reality.”
Notes on the Notes
- Searle, John R. 1995. The Construction of Social Reality. New York: Simon and Schuster.
- Searle, John R. 2010. Making the Social World: The Structure of Human Civilization. New York: Oxford University Press.
- For a more detailed discussion of how emotions are social reality, see Barrett, Lisa Feldman. 2012. "Emotions are real." Emotion 12 (3): 413-429.
- Cassirer, Ernst. 1944. "The concept of group and the theory of perception." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 5 (1): 1-36, p. 24.