Artifacts and mind-dependence

Synthese 199 (3-4):9313-9336 (2021)
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Abstract

I defend the intention-dependence of artifacts, which says that something is an artifact of kind K only if it is the successful product of an intention to make an artifact of kind K. I consider objections from two directions. First, that artifacts are often mind- and intention-dependent, but that this isn’t necessary, as shown by swamp cases. I offer various error theories for why someone would have artifact intuitions in such cases. Second, that while artifacts are necessarily mind-dependent, they aren’t necessarily intention-dependent. I consider and reject three kinds of cases which purport to show this: accidental creation, automated production, and mass production. I argue that intentions are present in all of these cases, but not where we would normally expect.

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Tim Juvshik
Clemson University

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