Social ontology

What are social groups? What are corporations and institutions? What is money, language, and the law? Social ontology is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the social world and how it works. ISOS is the international organization of philosophers, social theorists, cognitive scientists, economists, and other scholars in the field. We welcome academics and students from across the disciplines to join us.


Become a member

Join the society and connect with other researchers in social ontology, disseminate your work, participate in conferences, contribute to the Journal of Social Ontology.

Sign up to become a member


ISOS supports one large international conference each year. The 2024 conference is being held July 22-25 at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Registration opens March 1, 2024.

2024 Conference Website

2022 Essay Competition

In collaboration with the Journal of Social OntologyISOS runs a biennial essay competition for junior scholars. We congratulate Jade Fletcher, winner of the 2022 prize for her essay "Canberra Planning for Gender Kinds."

Information about the 2024 prize will be available in due course.

Journal of Social Ontology

The Journal of Social Ontology was founded by ISOS to feature work in social ontology and collective intentionality. The topics that JSO covers range from small-scale everyday interactions to encompassing societal institutions, from expert teams to hierarchical organizations, and from unintended consequences to institutional design. Membership in ISOS supports open access to the journal.

More about JSO

In Memoriam

ISOS remembers our long-time colleague and friend, Raimo Tuomela (1940-2020).

Read More 


One of the key aims of ISOS is to foster innovative approaches and collaborations in social ontology, as well as to support research in social ontology regionally and globally. In service of this, we have started a program to help fund workshops in social ontology.

In 2023, we are financially supporting 11 workshops on a variety of topics in social ontology -- all organized by ISOS members. These workshops were selected from an open call for applications in late 2022. 

Find out more about the workshops.

"International Social Ontology Society" is registered as a non-profit organization in Austria.

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