Ontology and Politics of Institutions

As part of the established cooperation between the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, Center for Ethics, Law and Applied Philosophy, the research group NoSoPhi/Philosophies contemporaines of the University of Paris 1/Panthéon-Sorbonne, and the Philosophie de la Normativité chair of the Institut Universitaire de France, we hereby announce the international conference The Ontology and Politics of Institutions. The conference is to take place in Belgrade, from the 6th to the 7th of November 2012.

Ontology and Politics of Institutions

At the beginning of the 20th century, “institutionalist” theories of law (M. Hauriou, S. Romano, C. Schmitt) drew attention to the institutional dimension of legal phenomena and underscored the importance of analyzing relations of right within judicial institutions (Savigny’s Rechtsinstitute), regarding both public and private rights.

An interest in the institutional approach to social phenomena was renewed through to the work of P. Winch (L’idée d’une science sociale), as well as, more recently, the analyses of “the construction of social reality” by R. Searle and the ensuing debates (B. Smith, I. Hacking, V. Descombes, P. Livet, M. Le Du, R. Ogien, etc.). From a different point of view, A. Honneth has recently drawn attention to the importance of social institutions as the conditions of realization of individual and collective freedoms (Das Recht der Freiheit).

Going beyond the given philosophical differences (“realism” and “antirealism”), we think it important to consider current reflections on institutions from three standpoints: social ontology, philosophy of law, and social and political philosophy. Each perspective will further be examined both from systematic and historical points of view. Equally important is to envision the paths contemporary scholarship could develop therefrom.