The paper focuses on a comparison between Lawson’s and Mead’s processual ontologies and more specifically on their conceptions of emergence. The first aim of the article is to highlight elements of similarity between their conceptions of social reality. It also aims to show, on the one hand, that Mead’s bio-social account of the emergent can help to interpret the dynamic process of emergence of both the social realm and agents’ identities (as described by Lawson) from a dynamic non-reductive naturalistic perspective; on the other hand, it shows how Lawson’s category of ‘social positioning’ can complement Mead’s ontogenetic explanation of changing social positions and the definition of ‘multiple selves’. By carefully considering the key elements of Lawson’s and Mead’s projects, it is, in fact, possible to understand better the meaning of a commitment to an updated processual ontology. In considering connections with classical pragmatic authors, it can be demonstrated that there are significant overlaps regarding the respective ways of considering the emergent. This offers a chance to understand more deeply how both pragmatism and Cambridge social ontology can together become part of the wider contemporary philosophical debate. In fact, Mead’s attempted synthesis between social and physical theories would help to highlight the common and complementary aspects linking what can be defined as his and Lawson’s ‘processual ontologies’.
Baggio, G. (2020). Emergence, time and sociality: comparing conceptions of process ontology. CAMBRIDGE JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS, 44(6), 1365-1394 [10.1093/cje/beaa019].