Artifacts

Edited by Nurbay Irmak (Bogazici University)
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  1. How to Test the Ship of Theseus.Marta Campdelacreu Arques, Ramón García Moya, Genoveva Martí & Enrico Terrone - manuscript
    The story of the Ship of Theseus is one of the most venerable conundrums in philosophy. Some philosophers consider it a genuine puzzle. Others deny that it is so. It is, therefore, an open question whether there is or there is not a puzzle in the Ship of Theseus story. So, arguably, it makes sense to test empirically whether people perceive the case as a puzzle. Recently, David Rose, Edouard Machery, Stephen Stich and forty-two other researchers from different countries have (...)
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  2. The Problem of Creation and Abstract Artifacts.Nurbay Irmak - forthcoming - Synthese:1-14.
    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. (...)
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  3. The Ship of Theseus Puzzle.David Rose, Edouard Machery, Stephen Stich, Mario Alai, Adriano Angelucci, Renatas Berniūnas, Emma E. Buchtel, Amita Chatterjee, Hyundeuk Cheon, In-Rae Cho, Daniel Cohnitz, Florian Cova, Vilius Dranseika, Angeles Eraña Lagos, Laleh Ghadakpour, Maurice Grinberg, Ivar Hannikainen, Takaaki Hashimoto, Amir Horowitz, Evgeniya Hristova, Yasmina Jraissati, Veselina Kadreva, Kaori Karasawa, Hackjin Kim, Yeonjeong Kim, Min-Woo Lee, Carlos Mauro, Masaharu Mizumoto, Sebastiano Moruzzi, Christopher Y. Olivola, Jorge Ornelas, Barbara Osimani, Alejandro Rosas, Carlos Romero, Massimo Sangoi, Andrea Sereni, Sarah Songhorian, Paulo Sousa, Noel Struchiner, Vera Tripodi, Naoki Usui, Alejandro Vázquez Del Vázquez Del Mercado, Giorgio Volpe, Hrag A. Vosgerichian, Xueyi Zhang & Jing Zhu - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy 3.
    Does the Ship of Theseus present a genuine puzzle about persistence due to conflicting intuitions based on “continuity of form” and “continuity of matter” pulling in opposite directions? Philosophers are divided. Some claim that it presents a genuine puzzle but disagree over whether there is a solution. Others claim that there is no puzzle at all since the case has an obvious solution. To assess these proposals, we conducted a cross-cultural study involving nearly 3,000 people across twenty-two countries, speaking eighteen (...)
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  4. Varieties of Artifacts: Embodied, Perceptual, Cognitive, and Affective.Richard Heersmink - 2021 - Topics in Cognitive Science:1-24.
    The primary goal of this essay is to provide a comprehensive overview and analysis of the various relations between material artifacts and the embodied mind. A secondary goal of this essay is to identify some of the trends in the design and use of artifacts. First, based on their functional properties, I identify four categories of artifacts co-opted by the embodied mind, namely (1) embodied artifacts, (2) perceptual artifacts, (3) cognitive artifacts, and (4) affective artifacts. These categories can overlap and (...)
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  5. A Bundle Theory of Words.J. T. M. Miller - 2021 - Synthese 198 (6):5731–5748.
    It has been a common assumption that words are substances that instantiate or have properties. In this paper, I question the assumption that our ontology of words requires posting substances by outlining a bundle theory of words, wherein words are bundles of various sorts of properties (such as semantic, phonetic, orthographic, and grammatical properties). I argue that this view can better account for certain phenomena than substance theories, is ontologically more parsimonious, and coheres with claims in linguistics.
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  6. Why Can’T I Change Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony?David Friedell - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):805-824.
    Musical works change. Bruckner revised his Eighth Symphony. Ella Fitzgerald and many other artists have made it acceptable to sing the jazz standard “All the Things You Are” without its original verse. If we accept that musical works genuinely change in these ways, a puzzle arises: why can’t I change Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony? More generally, why are some individuals in a privileged position when it comes to changing musical works and other artifacts, such as novels, films, and games? I give (...)
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  7. Varieties of the Extended Self.Richard Heersmink - 2020 - Consciousness and Cognition 85:103001.
    This article provides an overview and analysis of recent work on the extended self, demonstrating that the boundaries of selves are fluid, shifting across biological, artifactual, and sociocultural structures. First, it distinguishes the notions of minimal self, person, and narrative self. Second, it surveys how philosophers, psychologists, and cognitive scientists argue that embodiment, cognition, emotion, consciousness, and moral character traits can be extended and what that implies for the boundaries of selves. It also reviews and responds to various criticisms and (...)
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  8. Extended Mind and Artifactual Autobiographical Memory.Richard Heersmink - 2020 - Mind and Language 36:1-15.
    In this paper, I describe how artifacts and autobiographical memory are integrated into new systemic wholes, allowing us to remember our personal past in a more reliable and detailed manner. After discussing some empirical work on lifelogging technology, I elaborate on the dimension of autobiographical dependency, which is the degree to which we depend on an object to be able to remember a personal experience. When this dependency is strong, we integrate information in the embodied brain and in an object (...)
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  9. Narrative Niche Construction: Memory Ecologies and Distributed Narrative Identities.Richard Heersmink - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (5):1-23.
    Memories of our personal past are the building blocks of our narrative identity. So, when we depend on objects and other people to remember and construct our personal past, our narrative identity is distributed across our embodied brains and an ecology of environmental resources. This paper uses a cognitive niche construction approach to conceptualise how we engineer our memory ecology and construct our distributed narrative identities. It does so by identifying three types of niche construction processes that govern how we (...)
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  10. The Metaphysics of Establishments.Daniel Z. Korman - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (3):434-448.
    I present two puzzles about the metaphysics of stores, restaurants, and other such establishments. I defend a solution to the puzzles, according to which establishments are not material objects and are not constituted by the buildings that they occupy.
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  11. The Ontology of Words: Realism, Nominalism, and Eliminativism.J. T. M. Miller - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (7).
    What are words? What makes two token words tokens of the same word-type? Are words abstract entities, or are they (merely) collections of tokens? The ontology of words tries to provide answers to these, and related questions. This article provides an overview of some of the most prominent views proposed in the literature, with a particular focus on the debate between type-realist, nominalist, and eliminativist ontologies of words.
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  12. Folk teleology drives persistence judgments.David Rose, Jonathan Schaffer & Kevin Tobia - 2020 - Synthese 197 (12):5491-5509.
    Two separate research programs have revealed two different factors that feature in our judgments of whether some entity persists. One program—inspired by Knobe—has found that normative considerations affect persistence judgments. For instance, people are more inclined to view a thing as persisting when the changes it undergoes lead to improvements. The other program—inspired by Kelemen—has found that teleological considerations affect persistence judgments. For instance, people are more inclined to view a thing as persisting when it preserves its purpose. Our goal (...)
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  13. How Navigation Systems Transform Epistemic Virtues: Knowledge, Issues and Solutions.Alexander Gillett & Richard Heersmink - 2019 - Cognitive Systems Research 56 (56):36-49.
    In this paper, we analyse how GPS-based navigation systems are transforming some of our intellectual virtues and then suggest two strategies to improve our practices regarding the use of such epistemic tools. We start by outlining the two main approaches in virtue epistemology, namely virtue reliabilism and virtue responsibilism. We then discuss how navigation systems can undermine five epistemic virtues, namely memory, perception, attention, intellectual autonomy, and intellectual carefulness. We end by considering two possible interlinked ways of trying to remedy (...)
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  14. An Ontology of Words.Nurbay Irmak - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (5):1139-1158.
    Words are indispensable linguistic tools for beings like us. However, there is not much philosophical work done about what words really are. In this paper, I develop a new ontology for words. I argue that words are abstract artifacts that are created to fulfill various kinds of purposes, and words are abstract in the sense that they are not located in space but they have a beginning and may have an end in time given that certain conditions are met. What (...)
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  15. Form, Matter, Substance. [REVIEW]Daniel Z. Korman - 2019 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
    In Form, Matter, Substance, Kathrin Koslicki articulates and defends her preferred brand of hylomorphism, weighing in on how we should conceive of the matter and the form of such compounds, and on how they can qualify as fundamental “substances” despite being ontologically dependent on their components. I review Koslicki’s principal claims and conclusions (§1), and then raise some concerns about her master argument for “individual forms” (§2) and her criticism of standard essentialist accounts of artifacts (§3).
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  16. On the Individuation of Words.J. T. M. Miller - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (8):875-884.
    ABSTRACT The idea that two words can be instances of the same word is a central intuition in our conception of language. This fact underlies many of the claims that we make about how we communicate, and how we understand each other. Given this, irrespective of what we think words are, it is common to think that any putative ontology of words, must be able to explain this feature of language. That is, we need to provide criteria of identity for (...)
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  17. Necessity of Origins and Multi-Origin Art.Joshua Spencer & Chris Tillman - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (7):741-754.
    ABSTRACTThe Necessity of Origins is the thesis that, necessarily, if a material object wholly originates from some particular material, then it could not have wholly originated from any significantly non-overlapping material. Several philosophers have argued for this thesis using as a premise a principle that we call ‘Single Origin Necessity’. However, we argue that Single Origin Necessity is false. So any arguments for The Necessity of Origins that rely on Single Origin Necessity are unsound. We also argue that the Necessity (...)
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  18. Cultural Artefacts and Neglect of the Materials From Which They Are Made.Terence Rajivan Edward - 2017 - Abstracta 10:35-44.
    This paper discusses an explanation, offered by Tim Ingold, for why social and cultural anthropologists have so far paid little attention to the materials from which artefacts are composed. The explanation is that these anthropologists accept a certain argument. According to the argument, what an anthropologist should focus on when examining an artefact is the quality that makes it part of a culture, and this is not the materials from which the artefact is composed. I show that Ingold has not (...)
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  19. Artefacts as Mere Illustrations of a Worldview.Terence Rajivan Edward - 2017 - Symposion: Theoretical and Applied Inquiries in Philosophy and Social Sciences 4 (2):241-244.
    This paper responds to an argument against a kind of anthropology. According to the argument, if the aim of anthropology is to describe the different worldviews of different groups, then anthropologists should only refer to material artefacts in order to illustrate a worldview; but the interest of artefacts to anthropology goes beyond mere illustration. This argument has been endorsed by key members of the ontological movement in anthropology, who found at least one of its premises in Marilyn Strathern’s writing.
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  20. Hypertext. Eine Schrift für vernetzte, dynamische Schreibmaschinen (1965).Christian Vater - 2017 - In Christian Vater, Ludger Lieb, Christian Witschel & Michaela Böttner (eds.), 5300 Jahre Schrift. Heidelberg: Wunderhorn. pp. 166-169.
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  21. New Perspectives on Artifactual and Biological Functions.Marc Artiga - 2016 - Applied Ontology 11 (2):89-102.
    In this essay I introduce the question of artifactual functions in the context of the recent debate on the notion of function. I discuss some of the desiderata a satisfactory account should fulfill and compare them to the desiderata for a theory of biological functions. Finally, within this general framework, I briefly present the three papers included in this volume.
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  22. The Metaphysics of Cognitive Artifacts.Richard Heersmink - 2016 - Philosophical Explorations 19 (1):78-93.
    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 (...)
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  23. What Do We See in Museums?Graham Oddie - 2016 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 79:217-240.
    I address two related questions. First: what value is there in visiting a museum and becoming acquainted with the objects on display? For art museums the answer seems obvious: we go to experience valuable works of art, and experiencing valuable works of art is itself valuable. In this paper I focus on non-art museums, and while these may house aesthetically valuable objects, that is not their primary purpose, and at least some of the objects they house might not be particularly (...)
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  24. It’s All in Your Head: A Solution to the Problem of Object Coincidence.Graham Renz - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (4):1387-1407.
    It is uncontroversial that artifacts like statues and tables are mind-dependent. What is controversial is whether and how this mind-dependence has implications for the ontology of artifacts. I argue the mind-dependence of artifacts entails that there are no artifacts or artifact joints in the extra-mental world. In support of this claim, I argue that artifacts and artifact joints lack any extra-mental grounding, and so ought not to have a spot in a realist ontology. I conclude that the most plausible story (...)
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  25. The Ant Trap: Rebuilding the Foundations of the Social Sciences.Brian Epstein - 2015 - Oxford University Press.
    We live in a world of crowds and corporations, artworks and artifacts, legislatures and languages, money and markets. These are all social objects — they are made, at least in part, by people and by communities. But what exactly are these things? How are they made, and what is the role of people in making them? In The Ant Trap, Brian Epstein rewrites our understanding of the nature of the social world and the foundations of the social sciences. Epstein explains (...)
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  26. Dimensions of Integration in Embedded and Extended Cognitive Systems.Richard Heersmink - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (3):577-598.
    The complementary properties and functions of cognitive artifacts and other external resources are integrated into the human cognitive system to varying degrees. The goal of this paper is to develop some of the tools to conceptualize this complementary integration between agents and artifacts. It does so by proposing a multidimensional framework, including the dimensions of information flow, reliability, durability, trust, procedural transparency, informational transparency, individualization, and transformation. The proposed dimensions are all matters of degree and jointly they constitute a multidimensional (...)
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  27. An Ontological Architecture for Orbital Debris Data.Robert J. Rovetto - 2015 - Earth Science Informatics 9 (1):67-82.
    The orbital debris problem presents an opportunity for inter-agency and international cooperation toward the mutually beneficial goals of debris prevention, mitigation, remediation, and improved space situational awareness (SSA). Achieving these goals requires sharing orbital debris and other SSA data. Toward this, I present an ontological architecture for the orbital debris and broader SSA domain, taking steps in the creation of an orbital debris ontology (ODO). The purpose of this ontological system is to (I) represent general orbital debris and SSA domain (...)
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  28. How Many Kinds of Glue Hold the Social World Together.Brian Epstein - 2014 - In Mattia Gallotti & John Michael (eds.), Social Ontology and Social Cognition.
    In recent years, theorists have debated how we introduce new social objects and kinds into the world. Searle, for instance, proposes that they are introduced by collective acceptance of a constitutive rule; Millikan and Elder that they are the products of reproduction processes; Thomasson that they result from creator intentions and subsequent intentional reproduction; and so on. In this chapter, I argue against the idea that there is a single generic method or set of requirements for doing so. Instead, there (...)
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  29. Object Constructivism and Unconstructed Objects.Justin Remhof - 2014 - Southwest Philosophy Review 30 (1):177-185.
    The paper responds to a common charge against constructivism about objects, the view that all objects are essentially socially constructed. The objection is that constructivism is false because there must exist unconstructed objects for there to be constructed objects. I contend that the worry is unsound because whatever exists fully independently of our activities cannot be an object.
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  30. Social Objects Without Intentions.Brian Epstein - 2013 - In Anita Konzelmann Ziv & Hans Bernhard Schmid (eds.), Institutions, Emotions, and Group Agents: Contributions to Social Ontology. pp. 53-68.
    It is often seen as a truism that social objects and facts are the product of human intentions. I argue that the role of intentions in social ontology is commonly overestimated. I introduce a distinction that is implicit in much discussion of social ontology, but is often overlooked: between a social entity’s “grounds” and its “anchors.” For both, I argue that intentions, either individual or collective, are less essential than many theorists have assumed. Instead, I propose a more worldly – (...)
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  31. Ready-Mades: Ontology and Aesthetics.Simon J. Evnine - 2013 - British Journal of Aesthetics 53 (4):407-423.
    I explore the interrelations between the ontological and aesthetic issues raised by ready-mades such as Duchamp’s Fountain. I outline a hylomorphic metaphysics which has two central features. First, hylomorphically complex objects have matter to which they are not identical. Secondly, when such objects are artefacts (including artworks), it is essential to them that they are the products of creative work on their matter. Against this background, I suggest that ready-mades are of aesthetic interest because they pose a dilemma. Is there (...)
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  32. A Taxonomy of Cognitive Artifacts: Function, Information, and Categories.Richard Heersmink - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (3):465-481.
    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 (...)
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  33. Propositions, Attitudinal Objects, and the Distinction Between Actions and Products.Friederike Moltmann - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume on Propositions, Edited by G. Rattan and D. Hunter 43 (5-6):679-701.
    This paper argues that attitudinal objects, entities of the sort of John's judgment, John's thought, and John's claim, should play the role of propositions, as the cognitive products of cognitive acts, not the acts themselves.
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  34. Artifact Categorization and the Modal Theory of Artifact Function.Bence Nanay - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (3):515-526.
    Philosophers and psychologists widely hold that artifact categories – just like biological categories – are individuated by their function. But recent empirical findings in psychology question this assumption. My proposal is to suggest a way of squaring these findings with the central role function should play in individuating artifact categories. But in order to do so, we need to give up on the standard account of artifact function, according to which function is fixed by design, and replace it with a (...)
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  35. Review of Creations of the Mind, Ed. Margolis and Laurence. [REVIEW]Brian Epstein - 2012 - Mind 121 (481):200-204.
    This fascinating collection on artifacts brings together seven papers by philosophers with nine by psychologists, biologists, and an archaeologist. The psychological papers include two excellent discussions of empirical work on the mental representation of artifact concepts – an assessment by Malt and Sloman of a large variety of studies on the conflicting ways we classify artifacts and extend our applications of artifact categories to new cases, and a review by Mahon and Caramazza of data from semantically impaired patients and from (...)
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  36. Sortals and Criteria of Identity.Brian Epstein - 2012 - Analysis 72 (3):474-478.
    In a recent article, Harold Noonan argues that application conditions and criteria of identity are not distinct from one another. This seems to threaten the standard approach to distinguishing sortals from adjectival terms. I propose that his observation, while correct, does not have this consequence. I present a simple scheme for distinguishing sortals from adjectival terms. I also propose an amended version of the standard canonical form of criteria of identity.
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  37. Software is an Abstract Artifact.Nurbay Irmak - 2012 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 86 (1):55-72.
    Software is a ubiquitous artifact, yet not much has been done to understand its ontological nature. There are a few accounts offered so far about the nature of software. I argue that none of those accounts give a plausible picture of the nature of software. I draw attention to the striking similarities between software and musical works. These similarities motivate to look more closely on the discussions regarding the nature of the musical works. With the lessons drawn from the ontology (...)
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  38. On the Ontology of Functions.Stefano Borgo, Riichiro Mizoguchi & Barry Smith - 2011 - Applied Ontology 6 (2):99-104.
    This special issue of Applied Ontology is devoted to the foundation, the comparison and the application of functional theories in all areas, with particular attention to the biological and engineering domains. It includes theoretical and technical contributions related to the description, characterization, and application of functions.
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  39. A Formal Ontology of Artefacts.Gilles Kassel - 2010 - Applied Ontology 5 (3):223-246.
    This article presents a formal ontology which accounts for the general nature of artefacts. The objective is to help structure application ontologies in areas where specific artefacts are present - in other words, virtually any area of activity. The conceptualization relies on recent philosophical and psychological research on artefacts, having resulted in a largely consensual theoretical basis. Furthermore, this ontology of artefacts extends the foundational DOLCE ontology and supplements its axiomatization. The conceptual primitives are as follows: artificial entity, intentional production (...)
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  40. Metaphysics.Barry Smith - 2010 - In Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (ed.), Metaphysics: Five Questions. Automatic Press. pp. 143-158.
    Attempts to trace a unifying thread of ontological realism extending through 1. my early writings on Frege, Brentano, Husserl, Wittgenstein, Ingarden and (with Kevin Mulligan and Peter Simons) on truthmakers; 2. work on formal theories of the common-sense world, and on mereotopology, fiat objects, geographical categories, and environments (with David Mark, Roberto Casati, Achille Varzi), to 3. current work on applied ontology in biology and medicine, and on the theory of document acts and on the ontology of information artifacts.
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  41. Mechanistic Artefact Explanation.Jeroen de Ridder - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):81-96.
    One thing about technical artefacts that needs to be explained is how their physical make-up, or structure, enables them to fulfil the behaviour associated with their function, or, more colloquially, how they work. In this paper I develop an account of such explanations based on the familiar notion of mechanistic explanation. To accomplish this, I outline two explanatory strategies that provide two different types of insight into an artefact’s functioning, and show how human action inevitably plays a role in artefact (...)
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  42. Explaining Artifact Evolution.David Kirsh - 2006 - Cognitive Life of Things.
    Much of a culture’s history – its knowledge, capacity, style, and mode of material engagement – is encoded and transmitted in its artifacts. Artifacts crystallize practice; they are a type of meme reservoir that people interpret though interaction. So, in a sense, artifacts transmit cognition; they help to transmit practice across generations, shaping the ways people engage and encounter their world. So runs one argument.
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  43. Nanotechnology and Nature: On Two Criteria for Understanding Their Relationship.Gregor Schiemann - 2005 - Hyle 11 (1):77 - 96.
    Two criteria are proposed for characterizing the diverse and not yet perspicuous relations between nanotechnology and nature. They assume a concept of nature as that which is not made by human action. One of the criteria endorses a distinction between natural and artificial objects in nanotechnology; the other allows for a discussion of the potential nanotechnological modification of nature. Insofar as current trends may be taken as indicative of future development, nanotechnology might increasingly use the model of nature as a (...)
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  44. Artifacts and Persons.Alfredo Lucero-Montano - 2003 - Philosophy Pathways 63.
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  45. Real Estate: Foundations of the Ontology of Property.Barry Smith & Leo Zaibert - 2003 - In Heiner Stuckenschmidt, Erik Stubjkaer & Christoph Schlieder (eds.), The Ontology and Modelling of Real Estate Transactions. Ashgate. pp. 51-67.
    Suppose you own a garden-variety object such as a hat or a shirt. Your property right then follows the ageold saw according to which possession is nine-tenths of the law. That is, your possession of a shirt constitutes a strong presumption in favor of your ownership of the shirt. In the case of land, however, this is not the case. Here possession is not only not a strong presumption in favor of ownership; it is not even clear what possession is. (...)
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  46. Preserving the Principle of One Object to a Place: A Novel Account of the Relations Among Objects, Sorts, Sortals, and Persistence Conditions.Michael Burke - 1994 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (3):591-624.
    This article offers a novel, conservative account of material constitution, one that incorporates sortal essentialism and features a theory of dominant sortals. It avoids coinciding objects, temporal parts, relativizations of identity, mereological essentialism, anti-essentialism, denials of the reality of the objects of our ordinary ontology, and other departures from the metaphysic implicit in ordinary ways of thinking. Defenses of the account against important objections are found in Burke 1997, 2003, and 2004, as well as in the often neglected six paragraphs (...)
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  47. Legal Metaphoric Artifacts.Corrado Roversi - manuscript
    In this paper I take it for granted that legal institutions are artifacts. In general, this can very well be considered a trivial thesis in legal philosophy. As trivial as this thesis may be, however, to my knowledge no legal philosopher has attempted an analysis of the peculiar reality of legal phenomena in terms of the reality of artifacts, and this is particularly striking because there has been much discussion about artifacts in general philosophy (specifically analytic metaphysics) over the last (...)
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