Dr. Jade Fletcher | University of St Andrews
Jade Fletcher is a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. Prior to this she held academic positions at the New College of the Humanities in London, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Glasgow. She completed her PhD at the University of Leeds in 2018.
Jade works in both applied topics in feminist and social philosophy, as well as more abstract topics in social metaphysics and philosophical methodology. She is particularly interested in places where these areas overlap. Her doctoral research investigated the role of truth in the method of metaphysics and her current research is concerned with the methodological and epistemological challenges of characterising the nature of social reality under conditions of ideological distortion.
Title | 'Realism and Debunking about Social Kinds'
Debates about realism and anti-realism in social constructionist metaphysics persist. Often, conceptions of realism stated in terms of mind-independence tend to rule out social kinds from being really real. Recently, there has been a lot of push-back by social metaphysicians to anti-realist readings of social construction. Defending the reality of a social kind is then understood to consist in showing that it is sufficiently objective, that it is causally efficacious, or perhaps deflating the distinction between the natural and the social.
This paper aims to articulate an often-ignored conception of realism which does justice to the core theoretical purpose of a range of social constructionist theories. According to epistemic conceptions of realism, realism should be characterised by the possibility of substantive error. For the realist, the search for truth is a matter of discovery not invention, and success is not guaranteed. I argue that this epistemological conception of realism best captures the aims and methods of those social constructionist theories that aim to debunk our ordinary beliefs about the social world.