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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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A Device-Oriented Definition of Functions of Artifacts and Its Perspectives

A Device-Oriented Definition of Functions of Artifacts and Its Perspectives

(p.203) 12 A Device-Oriented Definition of Functions of Artifacts and Its Perspectives
Functions in Biological and Artificial Worlds

Yoshinobu Kitamura

Riichiro Mizoguchi

The MIT Press

This chapter demonstrates that in spite of the importance of the notion of function for engineering practice there is no common interpretation of it. It proposes a device-oriented definition of function that is related to device behaviors. It defines “function” as a role played by a behavior in its use context. It describes the definition of the function of technical artifacts from the device viewpoint. It uses local functions as the base-functions in order to realize composability of device models. This chapter suggests that a generic reference ontology of function can clarify the ontological differences between functional vocabularies and thus enhance the interoperability of functional knowledge.

Keywords:   device-oriented definition, functional knowledge, technical artifacts, generic reference ontology, ontological differences, functional vocabularies

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