Why It Would Not Be Better Not to Believe in Material Artifacts – Even If One Could Get Away With It

  • Amrei Bahr
  • Christoph Fischer
  • Thomas Kater
  • Nicolas Kleinschmidt
Part of the Münster Lectures in Philosophy book series (MUELP, volume 4)


Peter van Inwagen famously promotes the unusual claim that there are no such things as material artifacts. In order to make his claim plausible, he presents a number of arguments, three of which will be subject to discussion in this paper: We argue that these arguments fail to make a convincing case for the denial of material artifacts. In addition, we reveal the benefits of the belief in the existence of material artifacts. We conclude that, contrary to van Inwagen’s suggestion, it would not be better not to believe in material artifacts, as there are a number of good reasons for holding on to this belief.


Artifact Artifact creation Artifact functions Copyright Cultural evolution Persistence Van Inwagen 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amrei Bahr
    • 1
  • Christoph Fischer
    • 1
  • Thomas Kater
    • 1
  • Nicolas Kleinschmidt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyWWU MünsterMünsterGermany

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