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  1. The Proper Function of Artifacts: Intentions, Conventions and Causal Inferences.Sergio E. Chaigneau & Guillermo Puebla - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (3):391-406.
    Designers’ intentions are important for determining an artifact’s proper function (i.e., its perceived real function). However, there are disagreements regarding why. In one view, people reason causally about artifacts’ functional outcomes, and designers’ intended functions become important to the extent that they allow inferring outcomes. In another view, people use knowledge of designers’ intentions to determine proper functions, but this is unrelated to causal reasoning, having perhaps to do with intentional or social forms of reasoning (e.g., authority). Regarding these latter (...)
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  • Artifacts, Intentions, and Contraceptives: The Problem with Having a Plan B for Plan B.Philip A. Reed - 2013 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 38 (6):jht051.
    Next SectionIt is commonly proposed that artifacts cannot be understood without reference to human intentions. This fact, I contend, has relevance to the use of artifacts in intentional action. I argue that because artifacts have intentions embedded into them antecedently, when we use artifacts we are sometimes compelled to intend descriptions of our actions that we might, for various reasons, be inclined to believe that we do not intend. I focus this argument to a specific set of artifacts, namely, medical (...)
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  • The Mind as Neural Software? Understanding Functionalism, Computationalism, and Computational Functionalism.Gualtiero Piccinini - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (2):269-311.
    Defending or attacking either functionalism or computationalism requires clarity on what they amount to and what evidence counts for or against them. My goalhere is not to evaluatc their plausibility. My goal is to formulate them and their relationship clearly enough that we can determine which type of evidence is relevant to them. I aim to dispel some sources of confusion that surround functionalism and computationalism. recruit recent philosophical work on mechanisms and computation to shed light on them, and clarify (...)
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  • The Bootstrapped Artefact: A Collectivist Account of Technological Ontology, Functions, and Normativity.Pablo Schyfter - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (1):102-111.
    In 2006, this journal addressed the problem of technological artefacts, and through a series of articles aimed at tackling the ‘dual nature of technical artefacts’, posited an understanding of these as constituted by both a structural and a functional component. This attempt to conceptualise artefacts established a series of important questions, concerning such aspects of material technologies as mechanisms, functions, human intentionality, and normativity. However, I believe that in establishing the ‘dual nature’ thesis, the authors within this issue focused too (...)
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  • Mechanistic Artefact Explanation.Jeroen de Ridder - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):81-96.
    One thing about technical artefacts that needs to be explained is how their physical make-up, or structure, enables them to fulfil the behaviour associated with their function, or, more colloquially, how they work. In this paper I develop an account of such explanations based on the familiar notion of mechanistic explanation. To accomplish this, I outline two explanatory strategies that provide two different types of insight into an artefact’s functioning, and show how human action inevitably plays a role in artefact (...)
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  • Coherence of Structural and Functional Descriptions of Technical Artefacts.Peter Kroes - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):137-151.
    Structural and functional descriptions of technical artefacts play an important role in engineering practice. A complete description of a technical artefact involves a description of both functional and structural features. Engineers, moreover, assume that there is an intimate relationship between the function and structure of technical artefacts and they reason from functional properties to structural ones and vice versa. This raises the question of how structural and functional descriptions are related. The kind of inference patterns that establish coherence between structural (...)
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  • Knowledge of Artefact Functions.Wybo Houkes - 2006 - 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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  • Technical Functions: A Drawbridge Between the Intentional and Structural Natures of Technical Artefacts.Pieter E. Vermaas & Wybo Houkes - 2006 - 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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  • Dual-Nature and Collectivist Frameworks for Technical Artefacts: A Constructive Comparison.Wybo Houkes, Peter Kroes, Anthonie Meijers & Pieter E. Vermaas - 2011 - 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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  • Artefactos Técnicos:¿ Cuál Es El Enfoque Más Adecuado?Álvaro David Monterroza Ríos & Álvaro David - 2011 - Estudios de Filosofía 44:169-192.
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  • Computers.Gualtiero Piccinini - 2004 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (1):32–73.
    I offer an explication of the notion of computer, grounded in the practices of computability theorists and computer scientists. I begin by explaining what distinguishes computers from calculators. Then, I offer a systematic taxonomy of kinds of computer, including hard-wired versus programmable, general-purpose versus special-purpose, analog versus digital, and serial versus parallel, giving explicit criteria for each kind. My account is mechanistic: which class a system belongs in, and which functions are computable by which system, depends on the system's mechanistic (...)
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  • The Functional Bias of the Dual Nature of Technical Artefacts Program.Krist Vaesen - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (1):190-197.
    In 2006, in a special issue of this journal, several authors explored what they called the dual nature of artefacts. The core idea is simple, but attractive: to make sense of an artefact, one needs to consider both its physical nature—its being a material object—and its intentional nature—its being an entity designed to further human ends and needs. The authors construe the intentional component quite narrowly, though: it just refers to the artefact’s function, its being a means to realize a (...)
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  • Technological Biology? Things and Kinds in Synthetic Biology.Pablo Schyfter - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (1):29-48.
    Social scientific and humanistic research on synthetic biology has focused quite narrowly on questions of epistemology and ELSI. I suggest that to understand this discipline in its full scope, researchers must turn to the objects of the field—synthetic biological artifacts—and study them as the objects in the making of a science yet to be made. I consider one fundamentally important question: how should we understand the material products of synthetic biology? Practitioners in the field, employing a consistent technological optic in (...)
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