Social Reality Without Language

Enacted Representations, Not Declarations, Create Status Functions


  • Pablo Fernández Velasco



Social Ontology, Language, Distributed Cognition, Cultural Practices


According to a popular view, the creation of social reality requires language: social institutions emerge when we successfully declare them into existence. Making language central to institutions deprives the non-human of any claim to a social reality. This is particularly problematic in the light of mounting research showing many animals have social institutions even in the absence of language. In this paper, I will offer an alternative view. I will employ a concept –enacted representation– from the distributed cognition framework of cognitive science to develop a social ontology that does not take language as a requirement to create social institutions.


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How to Cite

Velasco, Pablo Fernández. 2023. “Social Reality Without Language: Enacted Representations, Not Declarations, Create Status Functions”. Journal of Social Ontology 9 (1). Vienna, Austria:26-52.