This article connects philosophical debates about cognitive enhancement and situated cognition. It does so by focusing on moral aspects of enhancing our cognitive abilities with the aid of external artifacts. Such artifacts have important moral dimensions that are addressed neither by the cognitive enhancement debate nor situated cognition theory. In order to fill this gap in the literature, three moral aspects of cognitive artifacts are singled out: their consequences for brains, cognition, and culture; their moral status; and (...) their relation to personal identity. (shrink)
Simon J. Evnine explores the view that some objects have matter from which they are distinct but that this distinctness is not due to the existence of anything like a form. He draws on Aristotle's insight that such objects must be understood in terms of an account that links what they are essentially with how they come to exist and what their functions are. Artifacts are the most prominent kind of objects where these three features coincide, and Evnine develops (...) a detailed account of the existence and identity conditions of artifacts, and the origins of their functions, in terms of how they come into existence. He then extends this account to organisms, where evolution accomplishes what is effected by intentional making in the case of artifacts, and to actions, which are seen as artifactual events. (shrink)
There are various philosophical approaches and theories describing the intimate relation people have to artifacts. In this paper, I explore the relation between two such theories, namely distributed cognition and distributed morality theory. I point out a number of similarities and differences in these views regarding the ontological status they attribute to artifacts and the larger systems they are part of. Having evaluated and compared these views, I continue by focussing on the way cognitive artifacts are used (...) in moral practice. I specifically conceptualise how such artifacts (a) scaffold and extend moral reasoning and decision-making processes, (b) have a certain moral status which is contingent on their cognitive status, and (c) whether responsibility can be attributed to distributed systems. This paper is primarily written for those interested in the intersection of cognitive and moral theory as it relates to artifacts, but also for those independently interested in philosophical debates in extended and distributed cognition and ethics of (cognitive) technology. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to develop a systematic taxonomy of cognitive artifacts, i.e., human-made, physical objects that functionally contribute to performing a cognitive task. First, I identify the target domain by conceptualizing the category of cognitive artifacts as a functional kind: a kind of artifact that is defined purely by its function. Next, on the basis of their informational properties, I develop a set of related subcategories in which cognitive artifacts with similar properties can be (...) grouped. In this taxonomy, I distinguish between three taxa, those of family, genus, and species. The family includes all cognitive artifacts without further specifying their informational properties. Two genera are then distinguished: representational and non-representational (or ecological) cognitive artifacts. These genera are further divided into species. In case of representational artifacts, these species are iconic, indexical, or symbolic. In case of ecological artifacts, these species are spatial or structural. Within species, token artifacts are identified. The proposed taxonomy is an important first step towards a better understanding of the range and variety of cognitive artifacts and is a helpful point of departure, both for conceptualizing how different artifacts augment or impair cognitive performance and how they transform and are integrated into our cognitive system and practices. (shrink)
In this paper I examine the notion of ‘artifact’ and related notions in the dominant version of extended cognition theory grounded on extended functionalism. Although the term is ubiquitous in the literature, it is far from clear what ECT means by it. How are artifacts conceptualized in ECT? Is ‘artifact’ a meaningful and useful category for ECT? If the answer to the previous question is negative, should we worry? Is it important for ECT to have a coherent theory of (...)artifacts? And what are the demands and constraints that ECT imposes on this theory? I distinguish between two aspects of ECT, one narrow, aligned with extended functionalism ; and one broad or pluralistic, in which EF is combined with other theoretical resources in the context of diverse research programs. I begin by determining the problems in conceptualizing artifacts from EF. Then I address the question of why a concept of artifact may be relevant to ECT. Next, I examine the efforts of Richard Heersmink to combine ECT with dominant theories of artifacts in the philosophy of technology. I argue that both approaches fail to yield a meaningful notion of artifact, let alone one of ‘cognitive’ artifact. Finally, I argue that narrow ECT places rather strong constraints on a theory of artifacts, since it locates the specificity of ‘artifact’ in material aspects of realization that are, by definition, outside its theoretical purview. I examine, then discard, the possibility that a materialist and objectivist theory of artifacts may be of help. And finally I briefly explore some ways in which a broad, pluralistic ECT may address some of these shortcomings. (shrink)
Creations of the Mind presents sixteen original essays by theorists from a wide variety of disciplines who have a shared interest in the nature of artifacts and their implications for the human mind. All the papers are written specially for this volume, and they cover a broad range of topics concerned with the metaphysics of artifacts, our concepts of artifacts and the categories that they represent, the emergence of an understanding of artifacts in infants' cognitive development, (...) as well as the evolution of artifacts and the use of tools by non-human animals. This volume will be a fascinating resource for philosophers, cognitive scientists, and psychologists, and the starting point for future research in the study of artifacts and their role in human understanding, development, and behaviour.Contributors: John R. Searle, Richard E. Grandy, Crawford L. Elder, Amie L. Thomasson, Jerrold Levinson, Barbara C. Malt, Steven A. Sloman, Dan Sperber, Hilary Kornblith, Paul Bloom, Bradford Z. Mahon, Alfonso Caramazza, Jean M. Mandler, Deborah Kelemen, Susan Carey, Frank C. Keil, Marissa L. Greif, Rebekkah S. Kerner, James L. Gould, Marc D. Hauser, Laurie R. Santos, Steven Mithen. (shrink)
There has been a lot of discussion recently regarding abstract artifacts and how such entities (e.g., fictional characters like Sherlock Holmes, and mythological planets like Vulcan), if they indeed exist, could possibly be our creations. One interesting aspect of some of these debates concerns the extent to which creative intentions play a role in the creation of artifacts generally, both abstract and concrete. I here address the creation of concrete artifacts in particular. I ultimately defend a Brock-inspired, (...) heterodox view on which creative intentions are not at all necessary for the creation of concrete artifacts. A concrete artifact is just a hunk of matter having a certain configuration owing to human activity and, given that configuration, is disposed to participate in other human activities. (shrink)
Fiat objects may come into existence by intentional explicit defnition and convention or they can be the result of some spontaneous and unintentional activity resulting in tracing fat spatial boundaries. Artifacts and fiat objects seem intuitively to be correlated: both artifacts and fiat objects depend for their existence on agents and their intentions. Is it possible to consider fiat objects as artifacts and to what extent? Or else can we conceive at least some artifacts as fiat (...) objects? In order to draw a map of the possible answers to these two questions we will take into account various defnitions of artifacts stemming from the two classical approaches: the intentional and the functional one. (shrink)
This paper critically examines the forays into metaphysics of The Dual Nature of Technical Artifacts Program (henceforth, DNP). I argue that the work of DNP is a valuable contribution to the epistemology of certain aspects of artifact design and use, but that it fails to advance a persuasive metaphysic. A central problem is that DNP approaches ontology from within a functionalist framework that is mainly concerned with ascriptions and justified beliefs. Thus, the materiality of artifacts emerges only as (...) the external conditions of realizability of function ascription. The work of DNP has a strong programmatic aspect and much of its foray into metaphysics is tentative, so the intent of my argument is partly synthetic: to sum up these issues as they are presented in the literature and highlight some recognized problems. But I also go beyond that, suggesting that these problems are foundational, arising from the very way in which DNP poses the question of artifact metaphysics. Although it sets out to incorporate objective aspects of technology, DNP places a strong focus on the intentional side of the purported matter-mind duality, bracketing off materiality in an irretrievable manner. Thus, some of the advantages of dualism are lost. I claim that DNP is dualistic, not merely based on “duality”, but that its version of dualism does not appropriately account for the material “nature” of artifacts. The paper ends by suggesting some correctives and alternatives to Dual Nature theory. (shrink)
This paper argues that culture itself can be a weapon against the disentitled within cultures, and against members of other cultures; and when cultures are unjust and hegemonic, the theft of and destruction of elements of their culture can be a justifiable weapon of self-defense by the oppressed. This means that in at least some conflicts, those that are really insurgencies against oppression, such theft and destruction should not be seen as war crimes, but as legitimate military maneuvers. The paper (...) also argues that in general it is better for wars to be prosecuted by the theft and destruction of cultural property rather than by means of killing and debasing of lives, so that, again, these things should not be disincentivized by being classed as war crimes, but in fact should be the preferred methods of war. This makes it all the more problematic to have these things counted as war crimes when killing and rape are not. In the course of these arguments, the distinction is made between people and their culture; and the question is mooted whether the destruction of cultural artifacts is an evil, and if so, how great an evil. Finally, an argument is given against the view that it is wrong for art and culture experts to give assessments for the value of artifacts because this will be the enabling of the theft and destruction of artifacts and their cultures. If we do not place value on things, we cannot know what is most good and so most worth preserving in cultures and their artifacts. So we must carry on with judging, and then make sure we act to prevent the exploitation of the things we have rightly come to value. (shrink)
There is considerable dispute in the literature as to how much, in Aristotle's universe, living things and artifacts really have in common. To what extent is the relation between form and matter in living things comparable to the relation between form and matter in artifacts? Aristotle no doubt employs artifact-analogies rather frequently in describing the workings of living things. But where does the usefulness of these analogies reach its limits? In this paper, I argue that Aristotle's artifact-analogies are (...) frequently over-extended in such a way that important asymmetries between living things and artifacts are lost in the process. One such asymmetry of crucial importance is the relation between form and matter. Although form and matter in living organisms and artifacts alike are related via hypothetical necessity, it does not apply to both in the same way. I consider particular examples of body-parts and argue that, in each case, a particular kind of matter is picked out by hypothetical necessity. In this way, living things contrast with artifacts which are related via hypothetical necessity only to a disjunction of suitable material; each member of the disjunction is related to the form in question only contingently. In the case of living things, on the other hand, Aristotle is not committed to Multiple Realizability, in contrast to what the functionalist interpretation of Aristotle has claimed. (shrink)
In his Ideas II , Husserl interprets the apprehension of cultural objects by comparing it to that of the human “flesh“ and “spirit.“ Such objects are not just “bodies“ ( Körper ) to which a sense is exteriorly added, but instead they are, similarly to human bodies ( Leiber ), entirely “animated“ by a cultural meaning. In fact, this is not just an analogy for Husserl, since, in several of his later notations, he comes to show that cultural objects are (...) actually understood as such by means of an apperception employing empathy, as sediments of subjective acts and performances. Understood as cultural objects, images also point towards a previous subjective doing, and it is precisely by grasping this “pointing“ that we comprehend them in their proper significance as artifacts. In my paper, I would like to explore the nature and forms of this empathic “pointing,“ focusing on the possible use of Husserl's conception for an interpretation of non-figurative art. (shrink)
Traditionally, in the literature on robustness analysis objects are classified as genuine phenomena (natural objects, events, and processes) or artifacts (results produced in error). But much of biological measurement requires the manipulation of local experimental conditions in order to produce new effects. These types of intervention-based regularities are neither natural objects nor artifacts; characterizing them as either fails adequately to address key ontological properties as well as their role in scientific practice. It is argued that a new classification, (...) based on methodological considerations, can be useful in order to characterize experimental productions. Experimentally-useful context-sensitive objects are referred to as ‘artefacts’. To show how the new classification works and why it is instructive for scientific practice, two case studies are discussed. First, the puzzle of arsenic-consuming living organisms is analyzed, where under a set of specific experimental conditions a given organism was found to replace phosphorous with arsenic in its DNA. Second, ecological epigenetic measurement is discussed to show the complexity of variant effects in the context of lab, field, and computer measurements. It is argued that the line between artifacts and artefacts is fluid because theoretical, experimental, and practical considerations vary. (shrink)
Flint arrowheads, spearheads, and axe heads made by prehistoric Europeans were generally considered before the eighteenth century to be a naturally produced stone that formed in storm clouds and fell with lightning. These stones were called ceraunia, or thunderstones, and it was not until the sixteenth century that their status as a natural phenomenon was challenged. During the seventeenth century natural historians and antiquaries began to suggest that these ceraunia were not thunderstones but ancient human artifacts. I argue that (...) natural history museums, European contact with the stone-tool using peoples in the New World, and the close relationship between natural history and antiquarianism were critical to this reinterpretation of ceraunia. Once these objects were recognized to be ancient artifacts they could be used to investigate the earliest periods of human history from sources other than texts. (shrink)
This article looks at some of the metaphysical properties of cognitive artefacts. It first identifies and demarcates the target domain by conceptualizing this class of artefacts as a functional kind. Building on the work of Beth Preston, a pluralist notion of functional kind is developed, one that includes artefacts with proper functions and system functions. Those with proper functions have a history of cultural selection, whereas those with system functions are improvised uses of initially non-cognitive artefacts. Having identified the target (...) domain, it then briefly looks at the multiple usability of physical structures and the multiple realizability of cognitive function. Further developing insights from the “dual nature of artefacts thesis”, the article ends with conceptualizing the structure–function relations of cognitive artefacts. More specifically, it unpacks the relation between physical structure, representational structure, information, and cognitive function. (shrink)
Taken at face value, a programming language is defined by a formal grammar. But, clearly, there is more to it. By themselves, the naked strings of the language do not determine when a program is correct relative to some specification. For this, the constructs of the language must be given some semantic content. Moreover, to be employed to generate physical computations, a programming language must have a physical implementation. How are we to conceptualize this complex package? Ontologically, what kind of (...) thing is it? In this paper, we shall argue that an appropriate conceptualization is furnished by the notion of a technical artifact. (shrink)
The momentum of advances in biology is evident in the history of patents on life forms. As we proceed forward with greater understanding and technological control of developmental biology there will be many new and challenging dilemmas related to patenting of human parts and partial trajectories of human development. These dilemmas are already evident in the current conflict over the moral status of the early human embryo. In this essay, recent evidence from embryological studies is considered and the unbroken continuity (...) of organismal development initiated at fertilization is asserted as clear and reasonable grounds for moral standing. Within this frame of analysis, it is proposed that through a technique of Altered Nuclear Transfer, non-organismal entities might be created from which embryonic stem cells could be morally procured. Criteria for patenting of such non-organismal entities are considered. (shrink)
Recent advances in paleoarchaeology show why nothing in the Tate Modern, where a conference on "Agency & Automatism" took place, challenges the roots of 'the idea of the fine arts' (Kristeller) as high levels of craft, aesthetics, mimesis and mental expression, as exemplifying cultures: it is by them that we define our species. This paper identifies and deals with resistances, early and late, to photographic fine art as based on concerns about automatism reducing human agency--that is, mental expression--then offers the (...) fuller account of agency lacking in such discussions. But fine art is not the only value classification we use. (shrink)
The paper contains a conceptual proposal, its key idea being that the successful functioning of a rule embedding artifact designed to regulate a practice (not pertaining to its use) produces the same result as the successful performance of the rule-invoking non-communicative actions belonging to the practice in case.
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. (shrink)
How do artifacts get their functions? It is typically thought that an artifact’s function depends on its maker’s intentions. This chapter argues that this common understanding is fatally flawed. Nor can artifact function be understood in terms of current uses or capacities. Instead, it proposes that we understand artifact function on the etiological model that Ruth Millikan and others have proposed for the biological realm. This model offers a robustly normative conception of function, but it does so naturalistically by (...) employing our best scientific theories, in particular natural selection. To help make this case, it proposes “living artifacts” (organisms designed for human purposes through artificial selection) as a bridge between the artifactual and the biological realms. (shrink)
Beginning with Aristotle, philosophers have taken artifacts to be ontologically deficient. This paper proposes a theory of artifacts, according to which artifacts are ontologically on a par with other material objects. I formulate a nonreductive theory that regards artifacts as constituted by - but not identical to - aggregates of particles. After setting out the theory, I rebut a number of arguments that disparage the ontological status of artifacts.
The philosophy of artifacts is as marginal as it is one-sided. The majority of contributions to it are asides in works devoted to other subjects and focus on one characteristic feature: that artifacts are objects with functions. Indeed many artifacts, such as screwdrivers and toasters, come in functional kinds. Perhaps for this reason, philosophers elevated functions to the essences of artifacts or have developed general theories of function to describe artifacts along with their main subject: (...) biological items. Most such theories present one monolithic notion of function that applies to both. Dissident voices claim autonomy for artifact functions, or at least a small measure of conceptual independence, but it is seldom questioned that a theory of artifacts consists merely of a theory of artifact functions. (shrink)
This collection of 16 original articles by prominent theorists from a variety of disciplines provides an excellent insight into current thinking about artifacts. The four sections address issues concerning the metaphysics of artifacts, the nature and cognitive development of artifact concepts, and the place of artifacts in evolutionary history. The most overtly philosophical contributions are in the first two sections. Metaphysical issues addressed include the ‘mind-dependence’ of artifacts and the bearing of this on their ‘real’ existence, (...) and the distinction between natural and artifact kinds, and its implications for issues in epistemology and semantics – for example, whether there is ‘maker's knowledge’ of artifacts, and whether ‘direct’ theories of reference apply to artifact-kind terms. The papers concerned with the nature of artifact concepts – the ways in which we represent artifacts to ourselves – address how judgements of artifact identity track judgements about manifest appearance, function, and maker's intentions, and the neuroscientific basis for artifact categorization. Papers …. (shrink)
I want to explore four different exercises of interpretation: (1) the interpretation of texts (or hermeneutics), (2) the interpretation of people (otherwise known as "attribution" psychology, or cognitive or intentional psychology), (3) the interpretation of other artifacts (which I shall call artifact hermeneutics), (4) the interpretation of organism design in evolutionary biology--the controversial interpretive activity known as adaptationism.
Questions about the nature of reality and consciousness remain unresolved in philosophy today, but not for lack of hypotheses. Ontologies as varied as physicalism, microexperientialism and cosmopsychism enrich the philosophical menu. Each of these ontologies faces a seemingly fundamental problem: under physicalism, for instance, we have the ‘hard problem of consciousness,’ whereas under microexperientialism we have the ‘subject combination problem.’ I argue that these problems are thought artifacts, having no grounding in empirical reality. In a manner akin to semantic (...) paradoxes, they exist only in the internal logico-conceptual structure of their respective ontologies. (shrink)
Words, languages, symphonies, fictional characters, games, and recipes are plausibly abstract artifacts— entities that have no spatial location and that are deliberately brought into existence as a result of creative acts. Many accept that composition is unrestricted: for every plurality of material objects, there is a material object that is the sum of those objects. These two views may seem entirely unrelated. I will argue that the most influential argument against restricted composition—the vagueness argument—doubles as an argument that there (...) can be no abstract artifacts. There is no way to resist the vagueness argument against abstract artifacts that does not also undermine the vagueness argument against restricted composition. (shrink)
Environmental philosophy always presents detailed distinctions concerning the kinds of natural beings that can be granted moral considerability, when discussing this issue. In contrast, artifacts, which are excluded from the scope of moral considerability, are treated as one homogenous category. This seems problematic. An attempt to introduce certain distinctions in this regard—by looking into dissimilarities between physical and digital artifacts—can change our thinking about artifacts in ethical terms, or more precisely, in environmentally ethical terms.
AbtractTechnologies both new and old provide us with a wide range of cognitive artifacts that change the structure of our cognitive tasks. After a brief analysis of past classifications of these artifacts, I shall elaborate a new way of classifying them developed by focusing on an aspect that has been previously overlooked, namely the possible relationships between these objects and the cognitive processes they involve. Cognitive artifacts are often considered as objects that simply complement our cognitive capabilities, (...) but this “complementary view” seems to be an oversimplification. Assuming an “interaction-centered approach”, this article identifies three essential ways in which cognitive artifacts carry out their function: complementing, constituting and substituting our cognitive processes, and builds a taxonomy of these objects that is grounded on these relations. In so doing, it also addresses the chaotic set of different micro-functions carried out by cognitive artifacts, which have not thus far been dealt with, sorting these functions into three corresponding categories. The second part of the article analyzes in greater detail how cognitive artifacts work in our cognitive life, identifying a new kind of functions, called semi-proper functions, and providing a new definition of cognitive artifact based on the previous analysis of these objects. (shrink)
Synthetic organisms are at the same time organisms and artifacts. In this paper we aim to determine whether such entities have a good of their own, and so are candidates for being directly morally considerable. We argue that the good of non-sentient organisms is grounded in an etiological account of teleology, on which non-sentient organisms can come to be teleologically organized on the basis of their natural selection etiology. After defending this account of teleology, we argue that there are (...) no grounds for excluding synthetic organisms from having a good also grounded in their teleological organization. However, this comes at a cost; traditional artifacts will also be seen as having a good of their own. We defend this as the best solution to the puzzle about what to say about the good of synthetic organisms. (shrink)
A central question in philosophical and sociological accounts of technology is how the agency of technologies should be conceived, that is, how to understand their constitutive roles in the actions performed by assemblages of humans and artifacts. To address this question, I build on the suggestion that a helpful perspective can be gained by amalgamating “actor-network theory” and “postphenomenological” accounts. The idea is that only a combined account can confront both the nuances of human experiential relationships with technology on (...) which postphenomenology specializes, and also the chains of interactions between numerous technologies and humans that actor-network theory can address. To perform this amalgamation, however, several technical adjustments to these theories are required. The central change I develop here is to the postphenomenological notion of “multistability,” i.e., the claim that a technology can be used for multiple purposes through different contexts. I expand the postphenomenological framework through the development of a method called “variational cross-examination,” which involves critically contrasting the various stabilities of a multistable technology for the purpose of exploring how a particular stability has come to dominate. As a guiding example, I explore the case of the everyday public bench. The agency of this “mundane artifact,” as actor-network theorist Bruno Latour would call it, cannot be accounted for by either postphenomenology or actor-network theory alone. (shrink)
What are the affordances of artifacts? One view is that the affordances of artifacts, just as the affordances of natural objects, pertain to possible ways in which they can be manipulated. Another view maintains that, given that artifacts are sociocultural objects, their affordances pertain primarily to their culturally-derived function. Whereas some have tried to provide a unifying notion of affordance to capture both aspects, here I argue that they should be kept separate. In this paper, I introduce (...) a distinction between standard affordances, which concern the function of artifacts, and ad-hoc affordances, which refer to how artifacts are manipulated. I then argue for the neuropsychological plausibility of such a distinction, linking it to the dissociation between function knowledge and manipulation knowledge. Finally, I defend the equal status of these forms of knowledge and, hence, of standard and ad-hoc affordances, and I show that this has some implications for the debate on the role of motor processes in the conceptual knowledge of artifacts. (shrink)
Philosophers such as Eric Katz and Robert Elliot have argued against ecological restoration on the grounds that restored landscapes are no longer natural. Katz calls them “artifacts,” but the sharp distinction between nature and artifact doesn’t hold up. Why should the products of one particular natural species be seen as somehow escaping nature? Katz’s account identifies an artifact too tightly with the intentions of its creator: artifacts always have more to them than what their creators intended, and furthermore (...) the intention behind some artifacts might explicitly be to allow things to happen unpredictably. Indeed, to build any artifact is to employ forces that go beyond the builder: in this sense all artifacts are natural. Recognizing the naturalness of artifacts can help encourage the key environmental virtues of self-knowledge and humility. (shrink)
Among medieval Aristotelians, William of Ockham defends a minimalist account of artifacts, assigning to statues and houses and beds a unity that is merely spatial or locational rather than metaphysical. Thus, in contrast to his predecessors, Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus, he denies that artifacts become such by means of an advening ‘artificial form’ or ‘form of the whole’ or any change that might tempt us to say that we are dealing with a new thing (res). Rather, he (...) understands artifacts as per accidens composites of parts that differ, but not so much that only divine power could unite them, as in the matter and form of a proper substance. For Ockham, artifacts are essentially rearrangements, via human agency, of already existing things, like the clay shaped by a sculptor into a statue or the stick and bristles and string one might fashion into a broom. Ockham does not think that a new thing is thereby created, although his emphasis on the contribution of human artisans seems to leave questions about the ontological status of their agency open. In any case, there are no such things as natural statues, any more than substances created by human artifice. (shrink)
Across cultures, people employ space to construct representations of time. English exhibits two deictic space–time metaphors: the “moving ego” metaphor conceptualizes the ego as moving forward through time and the “moving time” metaphor conceptualizes time as moving forward towards the ego. Earlier research investigating the psychological reality of these metaphors has shown that engaging in certain types of spatial-motion thinking may influence how people reason about events in time. More recently, research has shown that people’s interactions with cultural artifacts (...) may also influence their representations of time. Extending research on space–time mappings in new directions, three experiments investigated the role of cultural artifacts, namely calendars and clocks, in the interpretation of metaphorical expressions about time. Taken together, the results provide initial evidence that, in their interpretation of ambiguous metaphorical expressions about time, people automatically access and use spatial representations of absolute time, whereby moving forward in space corresponds with moving later in time. Moreover, asking participants to use a reverse space–time mapping causes interference, which is reflected through their temporal reasoning. (shrink)
This paper examines people's reasoning about identity continuity and its relation to previous research on how people value one-of-a-kind artifacts, such as artwork. We propose that judgments about the continuity of artworks are related to judgments about the continuity of individual persons because art objects are seen as physical extensions of their creators. We report a reanalysis of previous data and the results of two new empirical studies that test this hypothesis. The first study demonstrates that the mere categorization (...) of an object as “art” versus “a tool” changes people's intuitions about the persistence of those objects over time. In a second study, we examine some conditions that may lead artworks to be thought of as different from other artifacts. These observations inform both current understanding of what makes some objects one-of-a-kind as well as broader questions regarding how people intuitively think about the persistence of human agents. (shrink)
A “sender–receiver” framework based on models developed in several fields can provide a general treatment of communicative and symbolic phenomena, replacing traditional semiotic theories that have failed to live up to the hopes of their advocates. Sender–receiver models have mostly been applied to linguistic behavior, gestures, and other ephemeral interactions between individuals. I look at the application of this framework to enduring artifacts, including pictures, using indigenous rock art in Australia as a case study.
Artifacts are objects intentionally made to serve a given purpose; natural objects come into being without human intervention. I shall argue that this difference does not signal any ontological deficiency in artifacts qua artifacts. After sketching my view of artifacts as ordinary objects, I’ll argue that ways of demarcating genuine substances do not draw a line with artifacts on one side and natural objects on the other. Finally, I’ll suggest that philosophers have downgraded artifacts (...) because they think of metaphysics as resting on a distinction between what is “mindindependent” and what is “mind dependent.” I’ll challenge the use of any such distinction as a foundation for metaphysics. (shrink)
This article explores the extent to which the I‐You relation should be applied to domains other than the human and the divine focusing particularly on artifacts and technology. Drawing first on the work of Martin Buber, Gabriel Marcel, and Martin Heidegger, I contend that the I‐You tradition has maintained I‐You relations with objects are possible even when these same figures level strong critiques of the I‐It relation. I extend these discussions and argue that some kind of You‐speaking for (...) class='Hi'>artifacts is needed to combat rampant consumption and reduction of the world to pure utility. But, I equally suggest that there are limitations to applying the I‐You relation to artifacts precisely when doing so keeps us from having genuine relationships with other people as outlined by psychologist Sherry Turkle. Finally, I outline how this proposal impacts the doctrine of creation. In sum, it expands our intuitions of what is included in that doctrine creation. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 1 - 21 Thomas Aquinas sees a sharp metaphysical distinction between artifacts and substances, but does not offer any explicit account of it. We argue that for Aquinas the contribution that an artisan makes to the generation of an artifact compromises the causal responsibility of the form of that artifact for what the artifact is; hence it compromises the metaphysical unity of the artifact to that of an accidental unity. By contrast, the (...) metaphysical unity of a substance is achieved by a process of generation whereby the substantial form is solely responsible for what each part and the whole of a substance are. This, we submit, is where the metaphysical difference between artifacts and substances lies for Aquinas. Here we offer on behalf of Aquinas a novel account of the causal process of generation of substances, in terms of _descending forms_, and we bring out its explanatory merits by contrasting it to other existing accounts in the literature. (shrink)
Humans are always interested in distinguishing natural and artificial entities although there is no sharp demarcation between the two categories. Surprisingly, things do not improve when the second type of entities is restricted to the arguably more constrained realm of physical technical artifacts. This paper helps to clarify the relationship between natural entities and technical artifacts by developing a conceptual landscape within which to analyze these notions. The framework is developed by studying three definitions of technical artifact which (...) arise from different perspectives. All these perspectives share two intuitions: that technical artifacts are physical objects that exist by human intervention; and that technical artifacts are entities to be contrasted to natural entities. Yet the perspectives are different in the way they spell out these intuitions: the relevant human intervention may range from intentional selection to intentional production; and the contrast between technical artifacts and natural entities may be introduced by a constitution relation or by defining properties that set technical artifacts apart. The three perspectives are compared and their similarities and dissimilarities are explored with the help of ontological analysis. (shrink)