The shrinking difference between artifacts and natural objects

Authors
Lynne Baker
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Abstract
Artifacts are objects intentionally made to serve a given purpose; natural objects come into being without human intervention. I shall argue that this difference does not signal any ontological deficiency in artifacts qua artifacts. After sketching my view of artifacts as ordinary objects, I’ll argue that ways of demarcating genuine substances do not draw a line with artifacts on one side and natural objects on the other. Finally, I’ll suggest that philosophers have downgraded artifacts because they think of metaphysics as resting on a distinction between what is “mind­independent” and what is “mind­ dependent.” I’ll challenge the use of any such distinction as a foundation for metaphysics.
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Synthetic Biology as Red Herring.Beth Preston - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):649-659.

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