Popper's Contribution to the Philosophical Study of Artifacts

Abstract
This paper aims to critically discuss the versatility of Popper’s theory of three worlds in the analysis of issues related to the ontological status and character of technical artifacts. Despite being discussed over years and hit with numerous criticisms it is still little known that Popper’s thesis has an important bearing on the philosophical characterization of technical artifacts. His key perspectives on the reality, autonomy, and ontological status of artifacts are rarely taken into consideration by scholars known to be engaged in the study of artifacts. This paper consists of two main sections. The first section attempts to present a critical exposition of Popper’s account of reality and (partial) autonomy of artifacts. Recent discussions about the longstanding distinction between natural objects and artifacts are brought up and the relevance of Popper’s pluralistic thesis to this debate is pointed out. In addition, attention is drawn towards how to read his notion of the autonomy of artifacts. The primary emphasis of the second section is the ontological position of artifacts. Two separate arguments are posed to challenge the dual ontological status of what Popper called ‘embodied’ World 3 objects or artifacts. The first argument is concerned with the material composition and characteristic features of artifacts. The second one addresses the creative and epistemic value of these artificial products
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