Creations of the mind: Theories of artifacts and their representation • by Eric Margolis and Stephen Laurence

Analysis 69 (1):171-172 (2009)
Abstract
This collection of 16 original articles by prominent theorists from a variety of disciplines provides an excellent insight into current thinking about artifacts. The four sections address issues concerning the metaphysics of artifacts, the nature and cognitive development of artifact concepts, and the place of artifacts in evolutionary history. The most overtly philosophical contributions are in the first two sections. Metaphysical issues addressed include the ‘mind-dependence’ of artifacts and the bearing of this on their ‘real’ existence, and the distinction between natural and artifact kinds, and its implications for issues in epistemology and semantics – for example, whether there is ‘maker's knowledge’ of artifacts, and whether ‘direct’ theories of reference apply to artifact-kind terms. The papers concerned with the nature of artifact concepts – the ways in which we represent artifacts to ourselves – address how judgements of artifact identity track judgements about manifest appearance, function, and maker's intentions, and the neuroscientific basis for artifact categorization. Papers …
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