, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 205-217
Date: 04 Dec 2012

Interactive Fiat Objects

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Abstract

The initial stage for the discussion is the distinction between bona fide and fiat objects drawn by Barry Smith and collaborators in the context of formal ontology. This paper aims at both producing a rationale for introducing a hitherto unrecognized kind of object—here called ‘Interactive Fiat Objects’ (IFOs)—into the ontology of objects, and casting light on the relationship between embodied cognition and interactive ontology with the aid of the concepts of affordance and ad hoc category. I conclude that IFOs are similar to fiat objects, affordances and ad hoc categories in a number of ways, yet they differ from these in important respects. Interaction is key to understanding the existence and peculiarities of IFOs. By adopting an embodied perspective on cognition, we can enrich our ontological typologies and highlight relevant features of our physical and symbolic environment that are otherwise overlooked. This should improve our understanding of object ontology and persuade us to include IFOs in our metaphysical inventories.