Economics and Philosophy vol:27 issue:1 pages:1-22
In The Construction of Social Reality (1995), John Searle develops a theory of institutional facts and objects, of which money, borders and property are presented as prime examples. These objects are the result of us collectively intending certain natural objects to have a certain status, i.e. to 'count as' being certain social objects. This view renders such objects irreducible to natural objects. In this paper we propose a radically different approach that is more compatible with standard economic theory. We claim that such institutional objects can be fully understood in terms of actions and incentives, and hence the Searlean apparatus solves a non-existent problem.