|Abstract||A fruit is the mature ovary of a plant. Its main biological function is to ensure the protection and dissemination of the seeds it encloses. In the case of fleshy fruits, dissemination is achieved by attracting animals who eat the fruit, digest the sweet softer flesh, and either regurgitate or excrete the harder seeds at some distance from the plant. Humans, however, have evolved, through artificial selection, plants that produce seedless fruits, such as bananas, Thomson grapes or Arrufatina clementines. Seedless grapes provide an arresting example of the more general issue I want to address in this chapter. Domesticated plants and animals have simultaneously biological, cultural, and artifactual functions. So do also human bodily traits used artifactually, for instance suntans. How should we describe these functions and their articulation? What are the biological and cultural functions of seedless grapes, or of suntans, and how do these functions interact? In trying to answer such questions, we are led to rethink the relationship between nature and culture, and to reappraise the notion of an artifact. The notion of an artifact commonly used in the social sciences, particularly in archeology and anthropology, is a family resemblance notion, useful for a first-pass description of various objects and for a vague characterization of scholarly, and in particular museographic interests. It should not be taken for granted that this notion could be defined precisely enough to serve a genuine theoretical purpose. When definitions are offered, they are based on prototypical cases. This is true of a dictionary definition such as Webster’s: ‘A usually simple object (as a tool or ornament) showing human workmanship or modification, as distinguished from a natural object.’ It is also true of a philosopher’s definition such as Risto Hilpinen’s in his entry on artifact in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: ‘An artifact may be defined as an object that has been intentionally made or produced for a certain purpose..|
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||No categories specified (fix it)|
|Through your library||Only published papers are available at libraries|
Similar books and articles
Pär Segerdahl (2007). Can Natural Behavior Be Cultivated? The Farm as Local Human/Animal Culture. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 20 (2).
Thomas Heyd (2005). Nature, Culture, and Natural Heritage: Toward a Culture of Nature. Environmental Ethics 27 (4):339-354.
Thomas Schramme (2010). Can We Define Mental Disorder by Using the Criterion of Mental Dysfunction? Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (1):35-47.
Beckett Sterner (2009). Object Spaces: An Organizing Strategy for Biological Theorizing. Biological Theory 4 (3):280-286.
Massimiliano Carrara & Pieter E. Vermaas (2009). The Fine-Grained Metaphysics of Artifactual and Biological Functional Kinds. Synthese 169 (1):125 - 143.
R. F. Ellen & Katsuyoshi Fukui (eds.) (1996). Redefining Nature: Ecology, Culture, and Domestication. Berg.
Beth Preston (2009). Biological and Cultural Proper Functions in Comparative Perspective. In Ulrich Krohs & Peter Kroes (eds.), Functions in Biological and Artificial Worlds: Comparative Philosophical Perspectives. Mit Press.
Added to index2009-09-16
Total downloads19 ( #64,338 of 549,045 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #63,185 of 549,045 )
How can I increase my downloads?