The problem of creation and abstract artifacts

Synthese 198 (10):9695-9708 (2020)
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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

Social Ontology.Brian Epstein - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Artifacts and mind-dependence.Tim Juvshik - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):9313-9336.
Type Realism Reconsidered.Nurbay Irmak - forthcoming - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism:1-11.
Artifact.Risto Hilpinen - 1999 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Making Things Up.Karen Bennett - 2017 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Ontology Made Easy.Amie Lynn Thomasson - 2014 - New York: Oup Usa.
Grounding in the image of causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):49-100.
Ontological Dependence.Tuomas E. Tahko & E. J. Lowe - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Fiction and Metaphysics.Amie L. Thomasson - 1998 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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