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  1. Function and Use of Technical Artefacts: Social Conditions of Function Ascription.Marcel Scheele - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):23-36.
    It is argued that we cannot understand the notion of proper functions of artefacts independently of social notions. Functions of artefacts are related to social facts via the use of artefacts. The arguments in this article can be used to improve existing function theories that look to the causal history of artefacts to determine the function. A view that takes the intentions of designers into account to determine the proper function is both natural and often correct, but it is shown (...)
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  • Artifact.Risto Hilpinen - 1999 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • The Interpretation of Texts, People and Other Artifacts.Daniel C. Dennett - 1990 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50:177-194.
    I want to explore four different exercises of interpretation: (1) the interpretation of texts (or hermeneutics), (2) the interpretation of people (otherwise known as "attribution" psychology, or cognitive or intentional psychology), (3) the interpretation of other artifacts (which I shall call artifact hermeneutics), (4) the interpretation of organism design in evolutionary biology--the controversial interpretive activity known as adaptationism.
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  • The Bootstrapped Artefact: A Collectivist Account of Technological Ontology, Functions, and Normativity.Pablo Schyfter - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (1):102-111.
    In 2006, this journal addressed the problem of technological artefacts, and through a series of articles aimed at tackling the ‘dual nature of technical artefacts’, posited an understanding of these as constituted by both a structural and a functional component. This attempt to conceptualise artefacts established a series of important questions, concerning such aspects of material technologies as mechanisms, functions, human intentionality, and normativity. However, I believe that in establishing the ‘dual nature’ thesis, the authors within this issue focused too (...)
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  • 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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  • Coherence of Structural and Functional Descriptions of Technical Artefacts.Peter Kroes - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):137-151.
    Structural and functional descriptions of technical artefacts play an important role in engineering practice. A complete description of a technical artefact involves a description of both functional and structural features. Engineers, moreover, assume that there is an intimate relationship between the function and structure of technical artefacts and they reason from functional properties to structural ones and vice versa. This raises the question of how structural and functional descriptions are related. The kind of inference patterns that establish coherence between structural (...)
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  • Knowledge of Artefact Functions.Wybo Houkes - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):102-113.
    I argue that technological functions warrant specific epistemological attention, which they have not received thus far. From a user’s perspective, knowledge about the possible functions of an artefact is not provided exclusively by beliefs about its physical characteristics; it is primarily provided by know-how related to its use. Analysing the latter shows that standards of practical and not just theoretical reasoning are involved. Moreover, knowledge of the function of artefacts is primarily based on testimony and a social division of labour (...)
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  • The Normativity of Artefacts.Maarten Franssen - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):42-57.
    Part of the distinction between artefacts, objects made by humans for particular purposes, and natural objects is that artefacts are subject to normative judgements. A drill, say, can be a good drill or a poor drill, it can function well or correctly or it can malfunction. In this paper I investigate how such judgements fit into the domain of the normative in general and what the grounds for their normativity are. Taking as a starting point a general characterization of normativity (...)
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  • Technical Functions: A Drawbridge Between the Intentional and Structural Natures of Technical Artefacts.Pieter E. Vermaas & Wybo Houkes - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):5-18.
    In this paper we present an action-theoretic account of artefact using and designing and describe our ICE-theory of function ascriptions to technical artefacts. By means of this account and theory we analyse the thesis of the dual nature of technical artefacts according to which descriptions of technical artefacts draw on structural and intentional conceptualisations. We show that the ascription of technical functions to technical artefacts can connect the intentional and structural parts of descriptions of artefacts, but also separate these parts. (...)
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  • The Physical Connection: Engineering Function Ascriptions to Technical Artefacts and Their Components.Pieter E. Vermaas - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):62-75.
    In this paper I evaluate the ICE-theory of function ascriptions to technical artefacts as proposed by Houkes and Vermaas, 2004a and Houkes and Vermaas, 2004b. This account adds non-structural concepts to functional description of artefacts, which are typically not employed by engineers when they ascribe functions to artefacts. The aim of this paper is to analyse to what extent the ICE-theory can reproduce the engineering view that artefacts have their functions in virtue of their physicochemical structure. It is shown that (...)
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  • The Ontology of Artifacts.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2004 - Philosophical Explorations 7 (2):99 – 111.
    Beginning with Aristotle, philosophers have taken artifacts to be ontologically deficient. This paper proposes a theory of artifacts, according to which artifacts are ontologically on a par with other material objects. I formulate a nonreductive theory that regards artifacts as constituted by - but not identical to - aggregates of particles. After setting out the theory, I rebut a number of arguments that disparage the ontological status of artifacts.
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  • The Dual Nature of Technical Artefacts.Peter Kroes & Anthonie Meijers - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):1-4.
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  • Practical Inference.Georg Henrik von Wright - 1963 - Philosophical Review 72 (2):159-179.
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  • The Ontology of Artefacts: The Hard Problem.Wybo Houkes & Anthonie Meijers - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):118-131.
    We examine to what extent an adequate ontology of technical artefacts can be based on existing general accounts of the relation between higher-order objects and their material basis. We consider two of these accounts: supervenience and constitution. We take as our starting point the thesis that artefacts have a ‘dual nature’, that is, that they are both material bodies and functional objects. We present two criteria for an adequate ontology of artefacts, ‘Underdetermination’ and ‘Realizability Constraints’ , which address aspects of (...)
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