Social Ontology 2023 

Time: 16th-19th of August, 2023.

Place: Stockholm, Stockholm University Campus Albano

Keynote speakers:

Michael E. Bratman, Stanford University

Katharine Jenkins, University of Glasgow

Muhammad Ali Khalidi, City University of New York

Emma Tieffenbach, University of Geneva

Vanessa Wills, The George Washington University

Panel on the method(s) of social ontology:

Social ontology: What is it? What do we want it to be?

Confirmed participants: Ásta, Hans Bernhard Schmid, Johan BrännmarkMiguel Garcia Godinez, and Sally Haslanger.

Moderator: Åsa Burman

Social events and conference dinner:

The City of Stockholm has kindly invited us to the City Hall for a tour and dinner. This is the place of the annual Nobel Prize Dinner. There will be trips to Stockholm archipelago and an informal social dinner after the conclusion of the formal program of the conference. 

Katharine Jenkins

Vanessa Wills

Muhammad Ali Khalidi

Emma Tieffenbach

Michael E. Bratman

Old Town, Stockholm

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

Michael E. Bratman is U. G. and Abbie Birch Durfee Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University.  His main research interests are in the philosophy of action, where this includes issues about both individual and social agency and about practical rationality. His main book publications are Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason (1987); Faces of Intention: Selected Essays on Intention and Agency (1999); Structures of Agency:  Essays (2007); Shared Agency: A Planning Theory of Acting Together (2014); Planning, Time, and Self-Governance: Essays in Practical Rationality (2018); and most recently, Shared and Institutional Agency: Toward a Planning Theory of Human Practical Organization (2022).  

Katharine Jenkins is a Reader in Philosophy at the University of Glasgow. She previously worked at the University of Nottingham and at Jesus College, Cambridge, and she did her PhD at the University of Sheffield and her MPhil and BA at the University of Cambridge. Her research is primarily in social philosophy, especially the ontology of social categories such as gender and race. She is the author of, among other papers, ‘Amelioration and Inclusion: Gender Identity and the Concept of Woman’ (Ethics, 2016); ‘Toward an Account of Gender Identity’ (Ergo, 2018); and ‘Ontic Injustice’ (Journal of the American Philosophical Association, 2020). Her first monograph, Ontology and Oppression: Race, Gender, and Social Reality, is published in 2023 by Oxford University Press. It examines the nature of social categories that are bound up with oppression, such as race and gender, and the ways in which emancipatory social movements can best respond to such categories in view of the important role they play in many people’s identities.

Muhammad Ali Khalidi is Presidential Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.  He specializes in general issues in the philosophy of science, as well as questions in the foundations of the special sciences. His book, Cognitive Ontology: Taxonomic Practices in the Mind-Brain Sciences, will be published in December 2022 by Cambridge University Press. Another book, Natural Categories and Human Kinds, appeared in 2013, and he is currently working on a short monograph titled, Natural Kinds, for the Cambridge Elements series.  He has also published papers in a number of philosophical journals, including Journal of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, British Journal for Philosophy of Science, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Synthese, and Mind & Language.

Emma Tieffenbach is a researcher at the Università della Svizzera Italiana at Lugano and a temporary lecturer at the universities of Geneva, Lausanne, Fribourg, Neuchâtel and EPFL, where she teaches political and moral philosophy. The philosophy of economics is her domain of research where has published on invisible-hand explanations, the ontology of money, economic exchanges (what they are and whether they are ethically restricted), the legal foundation of gifting, the “warm glow” theory of gifting, nudges and public goods. She has co-edited with Julien Deonna a Petit Traité des Valeurs (Edition d’Ithaque, Paris, 2018) which brings together the contributions of 35 internationally renowned scholars. She is currently working on the philosophy of Austrian economics, with a special focus on the essentialism, apriorism and mentalism of Carl Menger. 

Vanessa Wills is a political philosopher, ethicist, educator, and activist based in Washington, DC. She is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at The George Washington University. Her areas of specialization are moral, social, and political philosophy, nineteenth century German philosophy (especially Karl Marx), and the philosophy of race. Her research is importantly informed by her study of Marx’s work, and focuses on the ways in which economic and social arrangements can inhibit or promote the realization of values such as freedom, equality, and human development. Her monograph, Marx's Ethical Vision, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. Dr. Wills is on the editorial board of Spectre Journal, a biannual journal of Marxist theory, strategy, and analysis. In Spring 2022, she was Visiting Faculty Fellow at UMBC’s Dresher Center for the Humanities. In 2019/20, she was DAAD Visiting Chair in Ethics and Practice at Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität’s Munich Center for Ethics (now the Center for Ethics and Political Philosophy in Practice).She received her PhD in Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011 and conducted part of her dissertation research at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin as a Fulbright Scholar in the 2010-11 academic year. Dr. Wills received her Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Princeton University in 2002.

This conference is sponsored by the International Social Ontology Society and the Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University.

Organizing committee: Erik Angner, Gunnar Björnsson, Åsa Burman, Staffan Carlshamre, Anandi Hattiangadi. Head of organizing committee and contact person: Åsa Burman:

Call for Papers - Social Ontology 2023

Theme: Social ontology and the social sciences, and the method(s) of social ontology 

August 16-19, 2023, Stockholm University, Sweden

Deadline for abstracts: February 15th, 2023

Social Ontology is the internationally leading philosophical and philosophy-related interdisciplinary conference series on social and collective phenomena. Social Ontology 2023 in Stockholm particularly invites contributions on the nature and existence of social phenomena, methodological debates about social ontology, and analyses of collective intentionality and collective responsibility. 

In-person conference with the option of ISOS members to participate online during the keynote lectures and the special panel on the method(s) of social ontology: Social Ontology: What is it? What do we want it to be?

Call For Abstracts

Submit abstracts (300-500 words, prepared for anonymous review) by February 15th,

2023, at EasyChair:

Notification of acceptance: Between March 6th and March 20th, 2023.

Interdisciplinary contributions are strongly encouraged. This year, we particularly invite contributions from sociology, economics, political science, and applied perspectives.

Topics include:

  • The ontology of the social world; the nature and existence of social phenomena 
  • Collective intentionality 
  • The ontology of social kinds (e.g. race or gender or class)
  • Social structures and opaque kinds of social facts
  • Shared, joint or collective action
  • Shared, collective, and corporate responsibility
  • Collective or shared beliefs, intentions, and emotions
  • Linguistic or mental representations of social phenomena 
  • Social skills, habits and practices
  • Trust, cooperation, and competition
  • The concept of social power and stratification 
  • The nature, evolution, and functioning of social norms
  • The structure of institutions, firms, and organizations
  • The ontology of economics including unintended effects
  • The method(s) of social ontology 
  • Approaches to the metaphysics of the social world
  • Critical social ontology 

Keynote speakers

Michael E. Bratman, Stanford University

Katharine Jenkins, University of Glasgow

Muhammad Ali Khalidi, City University of New York

Emma Tieffenbach, University of Geneva

Vanessa Wills, The George Washington University

Panel: Social ontology — What is it? What do we want it to be?

Confirmed participants: Ásta, Hans Bernhard SchmidJohan Brännmark, Miguel Garcia-Godinez, and Sally Haslanger.

Moderator: Åsa Burman

Social Program

The City of Stockholm has kindly invited us to the City Hall for a tour and dinner. This is the place of the annual Nobel Prize Dinner. There will be trips to Stockholm archipelago and other social events. 


ISOS hopes to offer some bursaries to contribute to conference costs for students and precariously employed social ontologists who are accepted to give papers at the conference. Please consider this when deciding whether to submit. More information regarding the possibility of bursaries will be posted here on the 1st of April.


The International Social Ontology Society and the organizing team consisting of Åsa Burman, Gunnar Björnsson, Erik Angner, Staffan Carlshamre and Anandi Hattiangadi (Stockholm University)

The Conference Series

The Social Ontology conferences are held under the auspices of the International Social Ontology Society. Previous events in this series have been held at the Universities of Basel, Helsinki, Konstanz, Leipzig, Munich, Manchester, Neuchâtel, Palermo, Rome, Rotterdam, Siena, and Tampere, as well as the University of California San Diego and Berkeley, Delft University of Technology, Tufts University, Indiana University, Bloomington, and the University of Vienna.

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