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  1. 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • The Dual Nature of Tools and Their Makeover.Antonio Rizzo - 2012 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (4):239-240.
    Vaesen argues that functional knowledge differentiates humans from non-human primates. However, the rationale he provides for this position is open to question – with respect to both the underlying theoretical assumptions and inferences drawn from certain empirical studies. Indeed, there is some recent empirical work that suggests that functional fixedness is not necessarily uniquely human. I also question the central role of stable function representations in Vaesen's account of tool production and use.
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  • Complexity and Technological Evolution: What Everybody Knows?Krist Vaesen & Wybo Houkes - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):1245-1268.
    The consensus among cultural evolutionists seems to be that human cultural evolution is cumulative, which is commonly understood in the specific sense that cultural traits, especially technological traits, increase in complexity over generations. Here we argue that there is insufficient credible evidence in favor of or against this technological complexity thesis. For one thing, the few datasets that are available hardly constitute a representative sample. For another, they substantiate very specific, and usually different versions of the complexity thesis or, even (...)
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