Philosophical Studies (9):2943-2964 (forthcoming)

Tim Juvshik
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Much recent discussion has focused on the nature of artifacts, particularly on whether artifacts have essences. While the general consensus is that artifacts are at least intention-dependent, an equally common view is function essentialism about artifacts, the view that artifacts are essentially functional objects and that membership in an artifact kind is determined by a particular, shared function. This paper argues that function essentialism about artifacts is false. First, the two component conditions of function essentialism are given a clear and precise formulation, after which counterexamples are offered to each. Second, ways to handle the counterexamples suggested by Randall Dipert and Simon Evnine are considered and rejected. Third, I then consider the prospects for restricting function essentialism to so-called technical artifacts, as Lynne Baker does, and argue that this, too, fails. This paper thereby consolidates the scattered literature on function essentialism and shows that, despite the seeming plausibility of the thesis, it should be rejected as an account of artifact essences.
Keywords artifacts, functions, intentions, essence, kind-membership
Categories No categories specified
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Reprint years 2021
DOI 10.1007/s11098-020-01594-w
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References found in this work BETA

Essence and Modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8 (Logic and Language):1-16.
Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
Functions.Larry Wright - 1973 - Philosophical Review 82 (2):139-168.
In Defense of Proper Functions.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1989 - Philosophy of Science 56 (June):288-302.

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Citations of this work BETA

Artifacts and Mind-Dependence.Tim Juvshik - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):9313-9336.
The Aesthetic Engagement Theory of Art.Patrick Grafton-Cardwell - 2021 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8:243-268.
Artifactualization Without Physical Modification.Tim Juvshik - 2021 - Res Philosophica 98 (4):545-572.

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