Social ontologists aim to define and describe the structures and the dynamics of the social world, or rather the part of reality that is not reducible to the physical world and was “built” by human beings to live-out desirably fruitful relationships of co-operation and exchange. Aristotle in his Politics noted how human beings are essentially social animals, or beings whose collaborative and public dimension is a constitutive part of their identity. It is precisely for this reason that ontology cannot free itself from the social world.
The components and actors within the realm of social ontology are essentially: (a) individuals as social agents, (b) groups (that maintain relations to other groups and with the State), (c) the beliefs and actions that have nonindividualistic characteristics, and finally (d) social objects, namely, those objects that are distinguished from natural objects, artifacts and ideal objects.
Within a structure of this kind, social ontology sets out to answer questions such as: “what is social reality?”, “is it possible to conceive of a definition of social facts and objects?”, “what distinguishes brute facts from social facts?”, “what type of objects are groups?” “what types of objects are future generations?”, or, to say it differently, “what are the conditions that allow us to consider a collection of individuals a group?”, and, to explore the question, “is it possible to develop a constitutive rule of social reality?”.