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Functions in Biological and Artificial WorldsComparative Philosophical Perspectives$
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Ulrich Krohs and Peter Kroes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262113212

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262113212.001.0001

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Realism and Artifact Kinds

Realism and Artifact Kinds

(p.185) 11 Realism and Artifact Kinds
Functions in Biological and Artificial Worlds

Marzia Soavi

The MIT Press

This chapter describes a strategy for a defense of real kinds for artifacts by individuating narrow functional kinds on the basis of a characterization of a function in terms of the triple: input-output-relations, system of interaction, and structure. It shows that everyday functional classification terms do not correspond to such narrow functions and therefore do not individuate real kinds. Additionally, it analyzes the relation between artifact functions and artifact kinds in an attempt to establish reconciliation between the functional characterization of artifact kinds and realism. This chapter suggests that the present proposal is neither meant to defend the reality of artifact kinds as ordinarily intended nor to reject it.

Keywords:   real kinds, artifact kinds, artifact functions, realism, functional classification

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