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  1. Wybo Houkes & Pieter E. Vermaas (2013). Pluralism on Artefact Categories: A Philosophical Defence. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (3):543-557.
    In this paper we use our work in the philosophy of technology to formulate a pluralist view on artefact categories and categorisation principles, as studied in cognitive science. We argue, on the basis of classifications derived by philosophical reconstruction, that artefacts can be clustered in more than one way, and that each clustering may be taken as defining psychological artefact categories. We contrast this pluralism with essentialism and super-minimalism on artefact categories and we argue that pluralism is coherent with experimental (...)
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  2. Krist Vaesen & Wybo Houkes (2013). Modelling the Truth of Scientific Beliefs with Cultural Evolutionary Theory. Synthese (1):1-17.
    Evolutionary anthropologists and archaeologists have been considerably successful in modelling the cumulative evolution of culture, of technological skills and knowledge in particular. Recently, one of these models has been introduced in the philosophy of science by De Cruz and De Smedt (Philos Stud 157:411–429, 2012), in an attempt to demonstrate that scientists may collectively come to hold more truth-approximating beliefs, despite the cognitive biases which they individually are known to be subject to. Here we identify a major shortcoming in that (...)
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  3. Pieter E. Vermaas & Wybo Houkes (2013). Functions as Epistemic Highlighters: An Engineering Account of Technical, Biological and Other Functions. In Philippe Huneman (ed.), Functions: Selection and Mechanisms. Springer. 213--231.
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  4. Wybo Houkes (2012). Population Thinking and Natural Selection in Dual-Inheritance Theory. Biology and Philosophy 27 (3):401-417.
    A deflationary perspective on theories of cultural evolution, in particular dual-inheritance theory, has recently been proposed by Lewens. On this ‘pop-culture’ analysis, dual-inheritance theorists apply population thinking to cultural phenomena, without claiming that cultural items evolve by natural selection. This paper argues against this pop-culture analysis of dual-inheritance theory. First, it focuses on recent dual-inheritance models of specific patterns of cultural change. These models exemplify population thinking without a commitment to natural selection of cultural items. There are grounds, however, for (...)
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  5. Wybo Houkes (2012). Tales of Tools and Trees: Phylogenetic Analysis and Explanation in Evolutionary Archaeology. In Henk W. de Regt (ed.), Epsa Philosophy of Science: Amsterdam 2009. Springer. 89--100.
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  6. Wybo Houkes & Krist Vaesen (2012). Robust! -- Handle with Care. Philosophy of Science 79 (3):1-20.
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  7. Wybo Houkes & Sjoerd D. Zwart, Transfer and Templates in Scientific Modeling.
    The notion of (computational) template has recently been discussed in relation to cross-disciplinary transfer of modeling efforts and in relation to the representational content of models. We further develop and disambiguate the notion of template and find that, suitably developed, it is useful in distinguishing and analyzing different types of transfer, none of which supports a non-representationalist view of models. We illustrate our main findings with the modeling of technology substitution with Lotka-Volterra Competition equations.
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  8. Wybo Houkes, Peter Kroes, Anthonie Meijers & Pieter E. Vermaas (2011). Dual-Nature and Collectivist Frameworks for Technical Artefacts: A Constructive Comparison. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (1):198-205.
    This paper systematically compares two frameworks for analysing technical artefacts: the Dual-Nature approach, exemplified by the contributions to Kroes and Meijers , and the collectivist approach advocated by Schyfter , following Kusch . After describing the main tenets of both approaches, we show that there is significant overlap between them: both frameworks analyse the most typical cases of artefact use, albeit in different terms, but to largely the same extent. Then, we describe several kinds of cases for which the frameworks (...)
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  9. Auke J. K. Pols & Wybo Houkes (2011). What is Morally Salient About Enhancement Technologies? Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (2):84-87.
    The human enhancement debate typically centres on moral issues regarding changes in human nature, not on the means for these changes. We argue that one cannot grasp what is morally salient about human enhancement without understanding how technologies affect human action and practical reasoning. We present a minimalist conception of human agents as bounded practical reasoners. Then, we categorise different effects of technologies on our possibilities for action and our evaluation of these possibilities. For each, we discuss whether enhancement technologies (...)
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  10. Wybo Houkes (2010). Review of A Companion to the Philosophy of Technology. [REVIEW] Techne 14 (3):270-272.
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  11. Wybo Houkes (2009). The Open Border : Two Cases of Concept Transfer From Organisms to Artifacts. In Ulrich Krohs & Peter Kroes (eds.), Functions in Biological and Artificial Worlds: Comparative Philosophical Perspectives. Mit Press.
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  12. Wybo Houkes (2008). Darwin voor scherven en schakelingen: een onderzoek naar evolutionaire modellen van artefacten. Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 100 (2):138-147.
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  13. Wybo Houkes (2006). Knowledge of Artefact Functions. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):102-113.
    I argue that technological functions warrant specific epistemological attention, which they have not received thus far. From a user’s perspective, knowledge about the possible functions of an artefact is not provided exclusively by beliefs about its physical characteristics; it is primarily provided by know-how related to its use. Analysing the latter shows that standards of practical and not just theoretical reasoning are involved. Moreover, knowledge of the function of artefacts is primarily based on testimony and a social division of labour (...)
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  14. Wybo Houkes & Anthonie Meijers (2006). The Ontology of Artefacts: The Hard Problem. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):118-131.
    We examine to what extent an adequate ontology of technical artefacts can be based on existing general accounts of the relation between higher-order objects and their material basis. We consider two of these accounts: supervenience and constitution. We take as our starting point the thesis that artefacts have a ‘dual nature’, that is, that they are both material bodies and functional objects. We present two criteria for an adequate ontology of artefacts, ‘Underdetermination’ and ‘Realizability Constraints’ , which address aspects of (...)
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  15. Pieter E. Vermaas & Wybo Houkes (2006). Technical Functions: A Drawbridge Between the Intentional and Structural Natures of Technical Artefacts. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):5-18.
    In this paper we present an action-theoretic account of artefact using and designing and describe our ICE-theory of function ascriptions to technical artefacts. By means of this account and theory we analyse the thesis of the dual nature of technical artefacts according to which descriptions of technical artefacts draw on structural and intentional conceptualisations. We show that the ascription of technical functions to technical artefacts can connect the intentional and structural parts of descriptions of artefacts, but also separate these parts. (...)
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  16. Wybo Houkes (2004). Trading Ontology for Ideology. [REVIEW] Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 2.
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  17. Pieter E. Vermaas & Wybo Houkes (2003). Ascribing Functions to Technical Artefacts: A Challenge to Etiological Accounts of Functions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):261-289.
    The aim of this paper is to evaluate etiological accounts of functions for the domain of technical artefacts. Etiological theories ascribe functions to items on the basis of the causal histories of those items; they apply relatively straightforwardly to the biological domain, in which neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory provides a well-developed and generally accepted background for describing the causal histories of biological items. Yet there is no well-developed and generally accepted theory for describing the causal history of artefacts, so the application (...)
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  18. Wybo Houkes (2002). Carnap on Logic and Experience. Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 9:287-298.
    In recent years, attention for the work of Rudolf Carnap has shifted from polemical discussion to placing Carnap in his intellectual context. Thus, the central question is no longer whether Carnap contributes to solving our current problems, but whether he solved the problems of his day and age. This contextualist approach has resulted in a deeper and more refined understanding of, in particular, Carnap’s early works and has focused on Der logische Aufbau der Welt.
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  19. Wybo Houkes (2002). Normativity in Quine's Naturalism: The Technology of Truth-Seeking? [REVIEW] Journal for General Philosophy of Science 33 (2):251-267.
    In this paper, I review Quine's response to the normativity charge against naturalized epistemology. On this charge, Quine's naturalized epistemology neglects the essential normativity of the traditional theory of knowledge and hence cannot count as its successor. According to Quine, normativity is retained in naturalism as ‘the technology of truth-seeking’. I first disambiguate Quine's naturalism into three programs of increasing strength and clarify the strongest program by means of the so-called Epistemic Skinner Box. Then, I investigate two ways in which (...)
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  20. Wybo Houkes (2002). A Parting of the Ways: Carnap, Cassirer, and Heidegger (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 40 (4):554-555.
    Wybo Houkes - A Parting of the Ways: Carnap, Cassirer, and Heidegger - Journal of the History of Philosophy 40:4 Journal of the History of Philosophy 40.4 554-555 Book Review A Parting of the Ways: Carnap, Cassirer, and Heidegger Michael Friedman. A Parting of the Ways: Carnap, Cassirer, and Heidegger. Chicago: Open Court, 2000. Pp. xv + 175. Paper, $24.95. For present-day philosophers, the division between "analytic" and "continental" philosophy is a fact of life. In this elegant little book, Michael (...)
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  21. Wybo Houkes & Pieter Vermaas (2002). Waar is dit ding voor? Een innovatieve etiologische theorie voor artefactfuncties. Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 94 (3).
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  22. Wybo Houkes (2000). Die methodische Philosophie Hugo Dinglers und der transzendentale Idealismus Immanuel Kants (review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 38 (4):607-608.
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