David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 168 (1):179 - 199 (2009)
Because much of the recent philosophical interest in functions has been motivated by their application in biology and other sciences, most of the ensuing discussions have focused on functional explanations to the neglect of the practical role of functional knowledge. This practical role is essential for understanding how users form plans involving artifacts. We introduce the concept of instrumental function which is intended to capture the features of functional claims that are relevant to practical—in particular, instrumental—reasoning. We discuss the four primary features of an instrumental function ascription, the teleological component of such ascriptions and give a clear definition of malfunction in terms of incapability to perform as well as “normal” tokens of the same type.
|Keywords||Artifact Function Analytical philosophy of engineering Instrumental reasoning Malfunction|
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References found in this work BETA
Robert C. Cummins (1975). Functional Analysis. Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
Paul Sheldon Davies (2000). The Nature of Natural Norms: Why Selected Functions Are Systemic Capacity Functions. Noûs 34 (1):85–107.
Maarten Franssen (2006). The Normativity of Artefacts. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):42-57.
Wybo Houkes (2006). Knowledge of Artefact Functions. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):102-113.
Peter McLaughlin (2001). What Functions Explain: Functional Explanation and Self-Reproducing Systems. Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Bjørn Jespersen & Massimiliano Carrara (2011). Two Conceptions of Technical Malfunction. Theoria 77 (2):117-138.
Pieter E. Vermaas, Dingmar Eck & Peter Kroes (2013). The Conceptual Elusiveness of Engineering Functions. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Technology 26 (2):159-185.
Wybo Houkes & Pieter E. Vermaas (2013). Pluralism on Artefact Categories: A Philosophical Defence. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (3):543-557.
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