Rock, paper, scissors: engineering differences between natural, social, and artificial kinds
|Abstract||Recent work on the ontology of technical artifacts has staked a claim for the ‘shrinking difference between artifacts and natural objects’ (Baker 2008; Pitt 2011; Preston 2008). In other words, certain authors have argued against a com-monly perceived distinction between things which are natural and things which are artificial. In ontology, we sometimes call the set to which these things belong natural and artificial kinds. Lynne Rudder Baker cites digital organisms, robo-rats, bacterial batteries, and ‘search-and-destroy’ viruses as technological advances that blur the ontological distinction between natural and artificial kinds. (Baker 2008, p. 2) This paper diagnoses the classificatory practices of petroleum engineering to analyze how the natural-artificial distinction is created within a professional community. In the same way that many ontologists believe that philosophy ought to be continuous with science and scientific ontology, I argue that philosophical ontology ought to be continuous with engineering ontology. Hence, the heuristic value of the natural-artificial distinction in engineering counts against arguments which favor abandoning the distinction in metaphysics. In this paper I present the philosophical equipment needed to analyze classificatory practices and then present a case study using these theoretical tools. I describe two emerging research programs in the ontology of technical artifacts – the Dual Nature of Technical Artifacts thesis (DNA) and the Collectivist Account of Technical Artifacts (CAT) – which will be helpful in achieving my aims. Using these research methods I demonstrate that, in the community studied, artificial kinds are marked by distinctive classificatory practices. I argue that the presence of these distinctive classificatory practices in engineering with regard to artificial kinds should be given the same weight in metaphysics and ontology as the distinctive classificatory practices in natural science with regard to natural kinds.|
|Keywords||ontology philosophy of engineering collectivism|
|External links||This entry has no external links. Add one.|
|Through your library||Only published papers are available at libraries|
Similar books and articles
Lynne Rudder Baker (2008). The Shrinking Difference Between Artifacts and Natural Objects. American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers.
Peter Kroes (1994). Science, Technology and Experiments; The Natural Versus the Artificial. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:431 - 440.
Christine W. Chan (2003). Cognitive Modeling and Representation of Knowledge in Ontological Engineering. Brain and Mind 4 (2):269-282.
Pablo Schyfter (2012). Technological Biology? Things and Kinds in Synthetic Biology. Biology and Philosophy 27 (1):29-48.
Gene Moriarty (2000). The Place of Engineering and the Engineering of Place. Techné 5 (2):83-96.
Thomas Reydon (2009). How to Fix Kind Membership: A Problem for Hpc Theory and a Solution. Philosophy of Science 76 (5).
Ingo Brigandt (2009). Natural Kinds in Evolution and Systematics: Metaphysical and Epistemological Considerations. Acta Biotheoretica 57:77-97.
Stefan Dragulinescu (2012). The Problem of Processes and Transitions: Are Diseases Phase Kinds? Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 15 (1):79-89.
Peter Kroes (2009). Technical Artifacts, Engineering Practice, and Emergence. In Ulrich Krohs & Peter Kroes (eds.), Functions in Biological and Artificial Worlds: Comparative Philosophical Perspectives. Mit Press.
Thomas A. C. Reydon (2009). Do the Life Sciences Need Natural Kinds? Croatian Journal of Philosophy 9 (2):167-190.
Amie L. Thomasson (2003). Realism and Human Kinds. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (3):580–609.
Ronald De Sousa (1984). The Natural Shiftiness of Natural Kinds. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 14 (4):561 - 580.
Kenneth R. Westphal (1994). ‘Community as the Basis of Free Individual Action’. In M. Daly (ed.), Communitarianism. Wadsworth.
Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.
Added to index2012-04-14
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?