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  1. The ‘Empirical’ in the Empirical Turn: A Critical Analysis.Mariska Thalitha Bosschaert & Vincent Blok - 2022 - Foundations of Science 1:1-22.
    During the second half of the twentieth century, several philosophers of technology argued that their predecessors had reflected too abstractly and pessimistically on technology. In the view of these critics, one should study technologies empirically in order to fully understand them. They developed several strategies to empirically inform the philosophy of technology and called their new approach the empirical turn. However, they provide insufficient indications of what exactly is meant by empirical study in their work. This leads to the critical (...)
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  • Function Ascription and Explanation: Elaborating an Explanatory Utility Desideratum for Ascriptions of Technical Functions.Dingmar van Eck & Erik Weber - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (6):1367-1389.
    Current philosophical theorizing about technical functions is mainly focused on specifying conditions under which agents are justified in ascribing functions to technical artifacts. Yet, assessing the precise explanatory relevance of such function ascriptions is, by and large, a neglected topic in the philosophy of technical artifacts and technical functions. We assess the explanatory utility of ascriptions of technical functions in the following three explanation-seeking contexts: why was artifact x produced?, why does artifact x not have the expected capacity to ϕ?, (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Cognitive Artefacts.Richard Heersmink - 2016 - Philosophical Explorations 19 (1):78-93.
    This article looks at some of the metaphysical properties of cognitive artefacts. It first identifies and demarcates the target domain by conceptualizing this class of artefacts as a functional kind. Building on the work of Beth Preston, a pluralist notion of functional kind is developed, one that includes artefacts with proper functions and system functions. Those with proper functions have a history of cultural selection, whereas those with system functions are improvised uses of initially non-cognitive artefacts. Having identified the target (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Cognitive Artifacts.Richard Heersmink - 2016 - Philosophical Explorations 19 (1):78-93.
    This article looks at some of the metaphysical properties of cognitive artefacts. It first identifies and demarcates the target domain by conceptualizing this class of artefacts as a functional kind. Building on the work of Beth Preston, a pluralist notion of functional kind is developed, one that includes artefacts with proper functions and system functions. Those with proper functions have a history of cultural selection, whereas those with system functions are improvised uses of initially non-cognitive artefacts. Having identified the target (...)
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  • Critical Rationalism and Engineering: Ontology.Mark Staples - 2014 - Synthese 191 (10):2255-2279.
    Engineering is often said to be ‘scientific’, but the nature of knowledge in engineering is different to science. Engineering has a different ontological basis—its theories address different entities and are judged by different criteria. In this paper I use Popper’s three worlds ontological framework to propose a model of engineering theories, and provide an abstract logical view of engineering theories analogous to the deductive-nomological view of scientific theories. These models frame three key elements from definitions of engineering: requirements, designs of (...)
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