Are Social Objects “Really Real”? There is an intuitive suspicion expressed in common sense, that certain kinds of objects – namely, objects that seem to be dependent upon social factors – aren’t “really, real”. The intuition is a skeptical one arising out of a default common sense empiricism. While there may be some nominal understanding or some social agreement about the reality of things like national borders or governments, they’re not “really, real” in the sense that, say, an airplane, or a boulder, or a dog, are “really, real”.
“Today is a great triumph. There is a king of Spain. He has been found at last. That king is me.” ~ Nikolai Gogol What makes a “social object” “really real”? What is a “social object”, and what would it mean for anything to be “really real”, as opposed to just plain real? The common-sense (ala naive) understanding, is to suggest that things like chairs and tennis balls and bullets are “really real”, while things like “money” and “borders” and “kings” are only just “socially” real (if real at all).