The Entanglement of the Social Realm: Towards a Quantum Theory Inspired Ontology for the Social Sciences

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Abstract

This paper presents the outline of an ontology of the social realm that aims to provide a new perspective to the study of social phenomena. It will be argued that in order to raise the impact of the social sciences, research should start from a new ontological discursive perspective. This implies that rather than dividing the social and psychological realm into different “disciplines”, the social and the psychological realm need to be imagined as two sides of the same coin. And also, that space and time should not be regarded as the primary referential grid for the social sciences but conversations and people. Within this perspective the “substance” of the social realm can be imagined as a species-wide and history-long web of conversations between people (and other actors with personhood properties) in which speech-acts are the basic forces that create agents and structures. The power of speech-acts is in essence non-local: it does not matter much where and when they occur, but rather by whom and in which conversational contexts they are uttered. This can be captured by the metaphor of social entanglement where social events have particular bonds that transcend space and time. All of this resonates more with the probabilistic realm of quantum physics than with the Newtonian world were causality reigns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-73
Number of pages19
JournalFoundations of Science
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Entanglement
  • Ontology
  • Social theory

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