Creating Artifactual Kinds
The aim of this chapter is to assess how two widespread types of theory on the nature of artifact kinds (i.e., functional and intentional theories) address the creation requirement, which demands an account of the appearance of genuinely new artifacts resulting from intentional creative processes. It attempts to show that both types of position do not satisfy this requirement. Functional theories that refer to a causal reproductive history cannot account for the nature of newly created artifact kinds, because artifacts belonging to these kinds do not have ancestors. Intentional theories that make the emergence of a new artifact kind dependent on the possession of a new concept of that artifact kind face a dilemma: either they have to excessively weaken the conditions for possessing a concept of an artifact kind or they need to concede that the constitution of the newly created kind cannot depend completely on such a concept. We conclude the chapter by arguing that if any account which treats artifacts as products of intentional creations cannot be separated from adopting a stance on what artifacts really are, then there are four aspects that must be taken into account for satisfactorily dealing with the ontology of artifacts.
KeywordsArtifact concepts Artifact normativity Artifactual novelty Creation requirement Functional account Historical-intentional account
A previous version of this chapter was presented at a seminar on the metaphysics of artifactual kinds, organized at the Delft University of Technology. Comments and questions have helped us to sharpen and clarify our ideas and arguments. Fernando Broncano has read previous versions of this chapter. We thank him for his valuable and insightful suggestions. We also thank the editors for searching criticisms. This research was funded by the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (Spain) (FFI2009-12054). It also received partly financial support by CONICET (Argentina).
- Grandy, R. (2007). Artifacts: Parts and principles. In E. Margolis & S. Laurence (Eds.), Creations of the mind (pp. 18–32). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Hilpinen, R. (1993). Authors and artifacts. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 93, 155–178.Google Scholar
- Preston, B. (2006). The case of the recalcitrant propotype. In A. Costall & O. Dreier (Eds.), Doing things with things. The design and use of everyday objects (pp. 15–27). Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
- Soavi, M. (2009). Realism and artifact kinds. In U. Krohs & P. Kroes (Eds.), Functions in biological and artificial worlds: Comparative philosophical perspectives (Vienna series in theoretical biology, pp. 185–202). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Thomasson, A. L. (2007). Artifacts and human concepts. In E. Margolis & S. Laurence (Eds.), Creations of the mind (pp. 52–73). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar