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  1. On the Structure and Epistemic Value of Function Ascriptions in Biology and Engineering Sciences.Erik Weber, Dingmar van Eck & Julie Mennes - 2019 - Foundations of Science 24 (3):559-581.
    In this paper we chart epistemological similarities between shared function talk in biology and the engineering sciences, focusing on the notions of biological advantage function and technical advantage function. We start by showing that biological advantage function ascriptions are common in biology and that technical advantage function ascriptions are common in engineering science. We then proceed to show that these ascriptions have a very similar structure and that their epistemic value also is similar: both biological advantage function and technical advantage (...)
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  • A Taxonomy of Cognitive Artifacts: Function, Information, and Categories.Richard Heersmink - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (3):465-481.
    The goal of this paper is to develop a systematic taxonomy of cognitive artifacts, i.e., human-made, physical objects that functionally contribute to performing a cognitive task. First, I identify the target domain by conceptualizing the category of cognitive artifacts as a functional kind: a kind of artifact that is defined purely by its function. Next, on the basis of their informational properties, I develop a set of related subcategories in which cognitive artifacts with similar properties can be grouped. In this (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Cognitive Artifacts.Richard Heersmink - 2016 - Philosophical Explorations 19 (1):78-93.
    This article looks at some of the metaphysical properties of cognitive artefacts. It first identifies and demarcates the target domain by conceptualizing this class of artefacts as a functional kind. Building on the work of Beth Preston, a pluralist notion of functional kind is developed, one that includes artefacts with proper functions and system functions. Those with proper functions have a history of cultural selection, whereas those with system functions are improvised uses of initially non-cognitive artefacts. Having identified the target (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Cognitive Artefacts.Richard Heersmink - 2016 - Philosophical Explorations 19 (1):78-93.
    This article looks at some of the metaphysical properties of cognitive artefacts. It first identifies and demarcates the target domain by conceptualizing this class of artefacts as a functional kind. Building on the work of Beth Preston, a pluralist notion of functional kind is developed, one that includes artefacts with proper functions and system functions. Those with proper functions have a history of cultural selection, whereas those with system functions are improvised uses of initially non-cognitive artefacts. Having identified the target (...)
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  • Pencils Have a Point: Against General Externalism About Artifactual Words.Diego Marconi - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (3):497-513.
    Externalism about artifactual words requires that (a) members of an artifactual word’s extension share a common nature, i.e. a set of necessary features, and (b) that possession of such features determines the word’s extension independently of whether the linguistic community is aware of them (ignorance) or can accurately describe them (error). However, many common artifactual words appear to be so used that features that are universally shared among members of their extensions are hard to come by, and even fewer can (...)
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  • Artifact Categorization. Trends and Problems.Massimiliano Carrara & Daria Mingardo - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (3):351-373.
    The general question (G) How do we categorize artifacts? can be subject to three different readings: an ontological, an epistemic and a semantic one. According to the ontological reading, asking (G) is equivalent to asking in virtue of what properties, if any, a certain artifact is an instance of some artifact kind: (O) What is it for an artifact a to belong to kind K? According to the epistemic reading, when we ask (G) we are investigating what properties of the (...)
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  • A New Logic of Technical Malfunction.Bjørn Jespersen & Massimiliano Carrara - 2013 - Studia Logica 101 (3):547-581.
    Aim of the paper is to present a new logic of technical malfunction. The need for this logic is motivated by a simple-sounding philosophical question: Is a malfunctioning corkscrew, which fails to uncork bottles, nonetheless a corkscrew? Or in general terms, is a malfunctioning F, which fails to do what Fs do, nonetheless an F? We argue that ‘malfunctioning’ denotes the modifier Malfunctioning rather than a property, and that the answer depends on whether Malfunctioning is subsective or privative. If subsective, (...)
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  • Putnam on Artifactual Kind Terms.Irene Olivero - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 9 (1):197-212.
    Putnam’s suggestion of extending the scope of his semantic theory has opened an ongoing debate. The majority seem to agree with Putnam as long as he restricts his analysis to natural kind terms, whereas many doubts have arisen about whether or not it can be applied to artifactual kind terms as well. Specifically, this disagreement originated with the thought experiment that Putnam laid out in order to prove his controversial thesis. Here I analyze it in detail in order to evaluate (...)
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  • Against Cognitive Artifacts: Extended Cognition and the Problem of Defining ‘Artifact’.Andres Vaccari - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (5):879-892.
    In this paper I examine the notion of ‘artifact’ and related notions in the dominant version of extended cognition theory grounded on extended functionalism. Although the term is ubiquitous in the literature, it is far from clear what ECT means by it. How are artifacts conceptualized in ECT? Is ‘artifact’ a meaningful and useful category for ECT? If the answer to the previous question is negative, should we worry? Is it important for ECT to have a coherent theory of artifacts? (...)
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  • Artifact Dualism, Materiality, and the Hard Problem of Ontology: Some Critical Remarks on the Dual Nature of Technical Artifacts Program.Andrés Vaccari - 2013 - Philosophy and Technology 26 (1):7-29.
    This paper critically examines the forays into metaphysics of The Dual Nature of Technical Artifacts Program (henceforth, DNP). I argue that the work of DNP is a valuable contribution to the epistemology of certain aspects of artifact design and use, but that it fails to advance a persuasive metaphysic. A central problem is that DNP approaches ontology from within a functionalist framework that is mainly concerned with ascriptions and justified beliefs. Thus, the materiality of artifacts emerges only as the external (...)
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  • Two Conceptions of Technical Malfunction.Bjørn Jespersen & Massimiliano Carrara - 2011 - Theoria 77 (2):117-138.
    The topic of this paper is the notion of technical (as opposed to biological) malfunction. It is shown how to form the property being a malfunctioning F from the property F and the property modifier malfunctioning (a mapping taking a property to a property). We present two interpretations of malfunctioning. Both interpretations agree that a malfunctioning F lacks the dispositional property of functioning as an F. However, its subsective interpretation entails that malfunctioning Fs are Fs, whereas its privative interpretation entails (...)
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