The ontology of artefacts: the hard problem


Authors
Anthonie Meijers
Eindhoven University of Technology
Abstract
We examine to what extent an adequate ontology of technical artefacts can be based on existing general accounts of the relation between higher-order objects and their material basis. We consider two of these accounts: supervenience and constitution. We take as our starting point the thesis that artefacts have a ‘dual nature’, that is, that they are both material bodies and functional objects. We present two criteria for an adequate ontology of artefacts, ‘Underdetermination’ and ‘Realizability Constraints’ , which address aspects of the dual nature thesis. Assessing supervenience accounts, we find them either wanting with respect to these criteria or insufficiently informative. Next, we argue that a recent application of Lynne Rudder Baker’s constitution view to artefacts cannot meet our criteria, although the broader view leaves room for improvement. Based on our evaluation of the most promising candidates, we conclude that so far general metaphysical views fail to address the most salient features of artefacts. Although they can account for the fact that artefacts have a ‘dual nature’, they do not offer the conceptual resources needed to describe the relation between these natures; this relation raises a hard problem in metaphysics.Keywords: Metaphysics; Artefact; Supervenience; Constitution; Underdetermination
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2005.12.013
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 43,694
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Ontology of Artifacts.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2004 - Philosophical Explorations 7 (2):99 – 111.
Knowledge of Artefact Functions.Wybo Houkes - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):102-113.
The Normativity of Artefacts.Maarten Franssen - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):42-57.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Computers.Gualtiero Piccinini - 2004 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (1):32–73.
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.

View all 16 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Husserl and the Mind–Body Problem.Emiliano Trizio - 2011 - New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy 11:1-15.
Can Technological Artefacts Be Moral Agents?Martin Peterson - 2011 - Science and Engineering Ethics 17 (3):411-424.
A Hard Problem Indeed.Gregory R. Peterson - 2009 - Zygon 44 (1):19-29.
On The Infinitely Hard Problem Of Consciousness.Bernard Molyneux - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (2):211 - 228.
The Dual Nature of Technical Artefacts.Peter Kroes & Anthonie Meijers - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):1-4.
The Philosophical Issue in Machine Consciousness.Piotr Boltuc - 2009 - International Journal of Machine Consciousness 1 (1):155-176.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-09-02

Total views
52 ( #158,740 of 2,264,517 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #612,816 of 2,264,517 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature