I has been argued, foremost by David Wiggins, that artefact kinds are defined in a way that makes the existence and persistence of their members, say clocks, dependent on human pragmatic considerations. This supposedly sets artefact kinds apart from natural kinds of things, say tigers, for which some inherent principle determines their existence and persistence. Consequently, artefact kinds would not be acceptable as real kinds in the sense that natural kinds of things are real, i.e. included in the ‘furniture of the universe’. I argue against this position that the stated differences between natural kinds and artefact kinds are not as categorical as claimed. Natural kinds are to some extent similarly subject to ‘ontological vagueness’. The argument for the ‘overall’ indeterminateness of artefact kinds depends largely on their conception as functional kinds. I show that if artefact kinds are conceived as historical subkinds of structural kinds, they can be considered as in relevant respects similar to natural kinds of things, and therefore ontologically on a par with them. The combination of historical and structural determination is one, moreover, that we are well acquainted with for some paradigmatically real kinds of natural things: biological organisms.
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy
Categories No categories specified
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ISBN(s) 978-1-63435-038-9
DOI 10.5840/wcp23201826599
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