chapter  5
20 Pages

The Corporate Soul

Corporations, such as companies, universities and churches, are usually seen as social groups. Indeed, in illustrating the ways in which we interact to form bodies with their own causal and explanatory role it is unsurprising to witness the realist about groups quickly turning to such entities. For it is just such corporations from which civil society appears to be woven, and it is their presence and character which shapes important aspects of the lives of individuals. Ontological holism draws support from the ease with which we talk of the personality or character of an institution, and from our ability to trace its narrative and anticipate its future conduct. Realism about corporations has been a way of marking either a useful distinction amongst groups or, more radically, as marking the distinction between social groups and mere aggregates of individuals.