Three conceptions of a theory of institutions

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We compare Guala's unified theory of institutions with that of Searle and Greif. We show that unification can be many things and it may be associated with diverse explanatory goals. We also highlight some of the important shortcomings of Guala's account: it does not capture all social institutions, its ability to bridge social ontology and game theory is based on a problematic interpretation of the type-token distinction, and its ability to make social ontology useful for social sciences is hindered by Guala's interpretation of social institution types as social kinds akin to natural kinds.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophy of the Social Sciences
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)550-568
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 611 Philosophy
  • institutions
  • unification
  • social ontology
  • economics
  • facts

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