TSES 3001- Lecture 3

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Technology, Society, Environment Studies
TSES 3001
John Buschek

LECTURE 3 // September 12 , 2013h Artifacts (Artificial vs natural) • Aristotle gave the idea that there are two types of things: things that exist by nature, and things that exist from other causes. • Definition (1): An object is an artifact if and only if it has an author. An author is some entity responsible for the existence of the artifact. There could be several people that work on the artifact, or something nonhuman (ie a bird who wants to get food in little places so it bends a twig to use as a lifting tool). Most things that we think about as artifacts have human authors. • Objects taken from nature and used as tools for some other purpose ▯ Called naturefacts instead of artifacts. In order for it to be an artifact, it would have to been modified in some way. • An artifact may be defined as an object that has been intentionally made or produced for a certain purpose. Often the word ‘artifact’ is used in a more restricted sense to refer to simple, hand-made objects which represent a particular culture. According to Webster's Third New International Dictionary, an artifact is “a usually simple object (as a tool or an ornament) showing human workmanship and modification as distinguished from a natural object.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines an artifact (artefact) as “anything made by human art and workmanship; an artificial product.” This sense of the word can be seen from the word itself: it is derived from the Latin words arte, ablative of ars (art), and factum, the past participle of facere (to make). In experimental science, the expression ‘artifact’ is sometimes used to refer to experimental results which are not manifestations of the natural phenomena under investigation, but are due to the particular experimental arrangement, and hence indirectly to human agency Ontology of artifacts • Singular and concrete artifacts (Eiffel Tower) • Type artifacts (have many instances like paper clip) • Abstract objects (Artificial language) • Portable artifacts (anything you can carry around with you, like clothing or hand tools) • Non-portable artifacts (like a tunnel through a mountain) Definition (2): Dependence conditions ▯ the existence and some of the properties of an artifact depend on an author’s intention to make an object of a certain kind. Artifacts are sometimes “creations of the mind”. This modifies the first
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