The problem of creation and abstract artifacts

Synthese 198 (10):9695-9708 (2021)
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Abstract

Abstract artifacts such as musical works and fictional entities are human creations; they are intentional products of our actions and activities. One line of argument against abstract artifacts is that abstract objects are not the kind of objects that can be created. This is so, it is argued, because abstract objects are causally inert. Since creation requires being caused to exist, abstract objects cannot be created. One common way to refute this argument is to reject the causal inefficacy of abstracta. I argue that creationists should rather reject the principle that creation requires causation. Creation, in my view, is a non-causal relation that can be explained using an appropriate notion of ontological dependence. The existence and the creation of abstract artifacts depend on certain individuals with appropriate intentions, along with events of a certain kind that include but are not limited to creations of certain concrete objects.

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Nurbay Irmak
Bogazici University

Citations of this work

Artifacts and Mind-Dependence.Tim Juvshik - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):9313-9336.
Artifact.Risto Hilpinen - 1999 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Artifact.Beth Preston - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Modes, Disturbances, and Spatio-Temporal Location.Friederike Moltmann - forthcoming - In Objects and Properties. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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References found in this work

Ontological Dependence.Tuomas E. Tahko & E. J. Lowe - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Making Things Up.Karen Bennett - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
Grounding in the Image of Causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):49-100.
Fiction and Metaphysics.Amie L. Thomasson - 1998 - Cambridge University Press.

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