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am 24. Oktober 1999
This is an impressive work by the lucid John Searle. This work is relatively brief but contains Searle's insightful treatment of both social reality and a cogent defense of realism, the idea that there is a reality independent of human construction. This book repays careful reading. Not because it is difficult to understand, to the contrary, Searle is a very clear writer with a real talent for presenting useful examples. Rather, Searle's arguments are simple but often have substantial implications whose importance emerges only on reflection. In this book, Searle describes the likely underpinnings of social, as opposed to physical reality. He develops very interesting analyses of how these two spheres differ and how we differ in our relation to them. He shows also the relationship between them. Searle's treatment of social constructionism is particularly powerful and demonstrates the implicit contradictions and sterility of this faddish ideology. Searle is particularly concerned with maintaining a high level of rational discourse in intellectual life. His work is a model in this respect.
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am 18. Februar 2000
I'm afraid it's the reviewer from Paris who just doesn't get it. Searle quite clearly acknowledges that the concept of "mountain" in mind-dependent or socially constructed. However what he is at pains to point out is that the entity which our concept "mountain" describes is mind-independent.
This is a beautifully written book, lucid, clear with a light flowing prose style - so different from many of the writings it critiques. You don't necessarily have to agree with Searle to admire this book - what is so admirable is that he states his position with such clarity that there is at least scope for rational agreement/disagreement.
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am 18. Februar 2000
I'm afraid it's the reviewer from Paris who just doesn't get it. Searle quite clearly acknowledges that the concept of "mountain" is mind-dependent or socially constructed. However what he is at pains to point out is that the entity which our concept "mountain" describes is mind-independent.
This is a beautifully written book, lucid, clear with a light flowing prose style - so different from many of the writings it critiques. You don't necessarily have to agree with Searle to admire this book - what is so admirable is that he states his position with such clarity that there is at least scope for rational agreement/disagreement.
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am 20. Juli 2000
The author's premise in this book is "Man is an irrational animal." This is a fascinating claim, although it had drawn some undeserved criticism. My only problem is the de Manian/Davidsonian twist he takes in the final chapter (read it and you will see!). But it is still everything you would expect from a top-notch philosopher and sociologist of knowledge.
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am 26. August 1999
Searle demonstrates once again why he is one of our best thinkers. Confronting head-on the postmodern claim that reality and truth are social constructs, Searle demolishes (deconstructs?) this claim and illustrates just how foolish and unexamined it is. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the ideas that have taken the humanities and higher education to a new nadir--which should be everyone. This is a great book.
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am 22. Januar 1999
John Searle presents a critical analysis of the structure of social reality. In his theory of the mind he illustrates "how it all hangs together". He describes a world of reality where complex structure is invisible, and in which certain things only exist because we believe them to exist.
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am 7. Januar 2000
Searle seems to have it all worked out. Mountains would exist irrespective of whether we were here or not.. or at least so he argues. But what is a mountain other than a definition? Where do mountans begin and end, how do we decide what is and what is not a mountain? It is relative! The world may exist whether we were here or not, but it is man who gives it meaning. In that sense the world IS a social construction. Searle just doesn't get it.
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