Objects come in three kinds: (1) physical objects (mountains, rivers, human bodies, and
animals) that exist in space and in time, and are independent from subjects knowing them,
even though they may have built them, as for artifacts (chairs, screwdrivers); (2) ideal objects
(numbers, theorems, relations) that exist outside of space and time, and are independent
from the subjects knowing them, but which, after having been discovered, can be socialized;
(3) social objects, that do not exist as such in space, since their physical presence is
limited to the inscription, but last in time, and whose existence depends on the subjects
who know, or at least can use, them and who, in certain cases, have constituted them.
This latter circumstance display us the fact that social objects, for which construction is
necessary, depends on social acts, whose inscription constitutes the object. As I show
through the law Object = Inscribed Act, social objects consist in the recording of acts that
encompass at least two people, and are characterized by being inscribed, on a physical substrate
what so ever, from marble to neurons, passing through paper and computers.
If all this is true, then a theory of social objects develops naturally into a theory of the
document, understood as an inquire centered on the definition of what I call “documentality”,
namely the properties that constitute, in each case, the necessary and sufficient conditions
to be a social object. At last, there is no society if there are no documents, and documents
are records with a particular social value.