21 found
  1.  59
    A Philosophy of Material Culture: Action, Function, and Mind.Beth Preston - 2012 - Routledge.
    This book focuses on material culture as a subject of philosophical inquiry and promotes the philosophical study of material culture by articulating some of the central and difficult issues raised by this topic and providing innovative solutions to them, most notably an account of improvised action and a non-intentionalist account of function in material culture. Preston argues that material culture essentially involves activities of production and use; she therefore adopts an action-theoretic foundation for a philosophy of material culture. Part 1 (...)
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  2. Why is a Wing Like a Spoon? A Pluralist Theory of Function.Beth Preston - 1998 - Journal of Philosophy 95 (5):215.
    Function theorists routinely speculate that a viable function theory will be equally applicable to biological traits and artifacts. However, artifact function has received only the most cursory scrutiny in its own right. Closer scrutiny reveals that only a pluralist theory comprising two distinct notions of function--proper function and system function--will serve as an adequate general theory. The first section describes these two notions of function. The second section shows why both notions are necessary, by showing that attempts to do away (...)
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  3.  64
    Artifact.Beth Preston - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  4. What Functions Explain: Functional Explanation and Self-Reproducing Systems.Beth Preston - 2002 - Mind 111 (444):888-891.
  5.  84
    Of marigold beer: A reply to Vermaas and Houkes.Beth Preston - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (4):601-612.
    Vermaas and Houkes advance four desiderata for theories of artifact function, and classify such theories into non-intentionalist reproduction theories on the one hand and intentionalist non-reproduction theories on the other. They argue that non-intentionalist reproduction theories fail to satisfy their fourth desideratum. They maintain that only an intentionalist non-reproduction theory can satisfy all the desiderata, and they offer a version that they believe does satisfy all of them. I reply that intentionalist non-reproduction theories, including their version, fail to satisfy their (...)
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  6.  36
    Synthetic biology as red herring.Beth Preston - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4b):649-659.
    It has become commonplace to say that with the advent of technologies like synthetic biology the line between artifacts and living organisms, policed by metaphysicians since antiquity, is beginning to blur. But that line began to blur 10,000 years ago when plants and animals were first domesticated; and has been thoroughly blurred at least since agriculture became the dominant human subsistence pattern many millennia ago. Synthetic biology is ultimately only a late and unexceptional offshoot of this prehistoric development. From this (...)
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  7.  34
    The Artifact Problem: A Category and Its Vicissitudes.Beth Preston - forthcoming - Metaphysics 5 (1):51-65.
    There is increasing interest in artifacts among philosophers. The leading edge is the metaphysics of artifacts and artifact kinds. However, an important question has been neglected. What is the ontological status of the category ‘artifact’ itself? Dan Sperber (2007) argues against its theoretical integrity for the purposes of naturalistic social sciences. In Section 2, I lay out Sperber’s argument, which is based on the observed continuum between natural objects and artifacts. I also review the implicit support for this continuum argument (...)
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  8.  89
    Cognition and tool use.Beth Preston - 1998 - Mind and Language 13 (4):513–547.
    Tool use rivals language as an important domain of cognitive phenomena, and so as a source of insight into the nature of cognition in general. But the favoured current definition of tool use is inadequate because it does not carve the phenomena of interest at the joints. Heidegger's notion of equipment provides a more adequate theoretical framework. But Heidegger's account leads directly to a non-individualist view of the nature of cognition. Thus non-individualism is supported by concrete considerations about the nature (...)
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  9.  84
    Merleau-Ponty and feminine embodied existence.Beth Preston - 1996 - Man and World 29 (2):167-186.
  10.  52
    Social context and artefact function.Beth Preston - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):37-41.
  11. Biological and cultural proper functions in comparative perspective.Beth Preston - 2009 - In Ulrich Krohs & Peter Kroes (eds.), Functions in Biological and Artificial Worlds: Comparative Philosophical Perspectives. MIT Press.
    Both biological traits and artifacts have proper functions. But accounts of proper function are typically based on the biological case. So adapting these accounts to the artifact case requires finding cultural analogues of biological concepts. This can go wrong in two ways. The biological concepts may not pick out either biological or cultural proper functions correctly; or they may have no cultural analogues. I argue that things have gone wrong in the first way with regard to selection and in the (...)
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  12. Heidegger and artificial intelligence.Beth Preston - 1993 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (1):43-69.
  13.  36
    Technology and Human Agency.Beth Preston - 2023 - Techné Research in Philosophy and Technology 27 (1):115-138.
    Sustainable technology is a microcosm that illuminates the relationship between technology and human agency. We tend to think about sustainability in terms of the properties of things. However, technology is not just things but techniques which have their own bearing on sustainability, for users may employ sustainable technologies in unsustainable ways. Clueless or stymied users may be managed through education or redesign; however, there are intractable users who cannot be managed through either approach. I trace the cause of this intractability (...)
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  14. Husserl's Non‐Representational Theory of Mind.Beth Preston - 1994 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 32 (2):209-232.
  15.  97
    Anthropocentrism, and the evolution of 'intelligence'.Beth Preston - 1991 - Minds and Machines 1 (3):259-277.
    Intuitive conceptions guide practice, but practice reciprocally reshapes intuition. The intuitive conception of intelligence in AI was originally highly anthropocentric. However, the internal dynamics of AI research have resulted in a divergence from anthropocentric concerns. In particular, the increasing emphasis on commonsense knowledge and peripheral intelligence (perception and movement) in effect constitutes an incipient reorientation of intuitions about the nature of intelligence in a non-anthropocentric direction. I argue that this conceptual shift undermines Joseph Weizenbaum's claim that the project of artificial (...)
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  16. Behaviorism and mentalism: Is there a third alternative?Beth Preston - 1994 - Synthese 100 (2):167-96.
    Behaviorism and mentalism are commonly considered to be mutually exclusive and conjunctively exhaustive options for the psychological explanation of behavior. Behaviorism and mentalism do differ in their characterization of inner causes of behavior. However, I argue that they are not mutually exclusive on the grounds that they share important foundational assumptions, two of which are the notion of an innerouter split and the notion of control. I go on to argue that mentalism and behaviorism are not conjunctively exhaustive either, on (...)
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  17.  41
    The ontological argument against the mind-machine hypothesis.Beth Preston - 1995 - Philosophical Studies 80 (2):131-57.
  18.  17
    Tool Use and Causal Cognition, edited by Teresa McCormack, Christoph Hoerl, and Stephen Butterfill.Beth Preston - 2014 - Mind 123 (492):1212-1218.
  19.  39
    Book reviews. [REVIEW]Beth Preston, Matthew Elton, Michael Losonsky, Saul Traiger, Randall R. Dipert & Jerome A. Shaffer - 1994 - Minds and Machines 4 (3):353-376.
  20.  70
    Mind and morals: Essays on cognitive science and ethics. [REVIEW]Beth Preston & Victoria Davion - 1997 - Minds and Machines 7 (3):447-451.
  21.  64
    Review of Eric Margolis, Stephen Laurence (eds.), Creations of the Mind: Theories of Artifacts and Their Representation[REVIEW]Beth Preston - 2008 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (5).