The problem of creation and abstract artifacts

Synthese 198 (10):9695-9708 (2021)
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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.
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