“Speech and the normative structure of civilization.“ Workshop with and in honor of John R. Searle (Berkeley)

In conversation with the important philosopher John R. Searle, the significance of his work for understanding institutional normativity will be discussed in this workshop.

Generations of philosophers and sociologists have been influenced by John R. Searle’s theory of speech acts and later on by his part in the constructivism debate. That the social reality is a “created” structure is a concept he shares with some sociological approaches. However, his unyielding insistence that language is necessary for an understanding of the world based on the Wirklichkeitswissenschaft (science of reality) and a sociologically enhanced “realism” intended as epistemology makes Searle a privileged dialogue partner in the movement of “New Realism”. In this respect we are following up on the topic of the conference “Prospects for a New Realism” (Bonn, March 26 through March 28, 2012) which attracted a great deal of attention in the academic world and in the reviews sections.

As a prominent representative of this movement, Maurizio Ferraris, who created a furore with his “Manifesto of New Realism”, is being seconded in this workshop by the great Indian legal scholar Upendra Baxi, who will reflect on the consequences for the human rights discourse; in further contributions by Stephan Zimmermann, Markus Gabriel and Werner Gephart, the elective affinities and differences in the sociological discourse on normativity and the formation of institutions will be explored.