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Francesco Guala: Money on my mind

When:We 28-11-2018 15:15 - 17:00
Where:Room Omega

Full title: Money on my mind: the (folk) ontology of a social object

Colloquium lecture by Francesco Guala (Milan), organized by the Centre for PPE

It is widely agreed that the existence of institutional objects is partly dependent on our capacity to represent them as such. Surprisingly, however, we do not know much about the way in which even paradigmatic institutional objects, like money, are conceptualised. The results of a series of experiments aimed at probing people’s intuitions about money reveal that at least two concepts of money coexist in our folk psychology: on the one hand, people identify money according to its effective functionÍž on the other, people use 'original conferred status' as a criterion of classification. Although this evidence does not tell us what money is, it does create problems for antirealist ontologies that identify money with whatever we represent as money, and for collective intentionality theories presupposing that a single concept of money is shared in the community.

Francesco Guala is Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Philosophy of the University of Milan, and Visiting Chair of the Philosophy of the Behavioural and Social Sciences at Erasmus University Rotterdam. He is the author of The Methodology of Experimental Economics (Cambridge 2005) and of Understanding Institutions: The Science and Philosophy of Living Together (Princeton 2016). His current research is mostly devoted to study the ontology and the cognitive foundations of social reality.