Social ontology

What are social groups? What are corporations and institutions? What is money, language, and the law? Social ontology is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the social world and how it works. ISOS is the international organization of philosophers, social theorists, cognitive scientists, economists, and other scholars in the field. We welcome academics and students from across the disciplines to join us.

Information on social ontology...

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Join the society and connect with other researchers in social ontology, disseminate your work, participate in conferences, contribute to the Journal of Social Ontology.

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ISOS supports two series of international conferences in the field of social ontology, held in alternating years.

Social Ontology 2021: The next conference in the series sponsored by ISOS is Social Ontology 2021. This conference -- administered by UC San Diego -- is being held online from August 9-21. The deadline for submitting an abstract is March 25, 2021. Registration is open from May 29th to June 12th.

Conference Information


Journal of Social Ontology

The Journal of Social Ontology was founded by ISOS to feature work in social ontology and collective intentionality. The topics that JSO covers range from small-scale everyday interactions to encompassing societal institutions, from expert teams to hierarchical organizations, and from unintended consequences to institutional design. Membership in ISOS supports open access to the journal.

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In Memoriam

ISOS remembers our long-time colleague and friend, Raimo Tuomela (1940-2020).

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2020 Essay Competition Winner

ISOS is pleased to announce that Tuomas Vesterinen has won the 2020 ISOS Essay Competition for junior scholars with his essay, "Identifying the Explanatory Domain of the Looping Effect: Congruent and Incongruent Feedback Mechanisms of Interactive Kinds." The winner of the competition has the honor of being one of the invited keynote speakers at the upcoming Social Ontology 2020 conference, which this year will be held online ( Moreover, the author's paper will be published in the Journal of Social Ontology, and the author of the winning essay will receive a €500 award.

"International Social Ontology Society" is registered as a non-profit organization in Austria.

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