Discipline Filosofiche 28 (1):113-136 (2018)

Marilù Papandreou
University of Bergen
Despite an infelicitous tradition downgrading their status, technical artefacts are increasingly acquiring their place in contemporary ontology. However, although most metaphysicians currently allow for an ontological consideration of artefacts, they define the class of artefacts differently and disagree on the essence of artificial objects. In this paper, I present a handful of recent accounts of artefacts, with particular regards to the hylomorphic framework. I make an attempt at reconstructing the debate on the spectrum of artefacts and the ways in which artefacts’ essences are singled out. Moreover, I indicate special cases, such as ready-mades and malfunctioning objects, which seem to constitute a threat for the presented accounts. Thereafter, I propose that Aristotle’s account of artefacts embraces the challenges of the contemporary debate. I also attempt to demonstrate that his theory of artefacts escapes the abovementioned threats. While unfolding Aristotle’s conceptual tools against such threats, I present his account of artefacts as hylomorphic and, hence, essentialist.
Keywords Aristotle  Artefacts  Hylomorphism  Metaphysics
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DOI 10.1400/257711
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