In Sarah Anne Carter & Ivan Gaskell (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of History and Material Culture. Oxford University Press (2020)

Authors
A. W. Eaton
University of Illinois, Chicago
Abstract
How do artifacts get their functions? It is typically thought that an artifact’s function depends on its maker’s intentions. This chapter argues that this common understanding is fatally flawed. Nor can artifact function be understood in terms of current uses or capacities. Instead, it proposes that we understand artifact function on the etiological model that Ruth Millikan and others have proposed for the biological realm. This model offers a robustly normative conception of function, but it does so naturalistically by employing our best scientific theories, in particular natural selection. To help make this case, it proposes “living artifacts” (organisms designed for human purposes through artificial selection) as a bridge between the artifactual and the biological realms.
Keywords artifact  function  technology
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References found in this work BETA

Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
Functions.Larry Wright - 1973 - Philosophical Review 82 (2):139-168.
The Teleological Notion of 'Function'.Karen Neander - 1991 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69 (4):454 – 468.
Functional Analysis and Proper Functions.Paul E. Griffiths - 1993 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (3):409-422.

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Citations of this work BETA

Oppressive Things.Shen-yi Liao & Bryce Huebner - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (1):92-113.
Function Essentialism About Artifacts.Tim Juvshik - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies (9):2943-2964.
The Seductions of Clarity.C. Thi Nguyen - 2021 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 89:227-255.

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