Technical functions: a drawbridge between the intentional and structural natures of technical artefacts

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):5-18 (2006)
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Abstract

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. Our conclusion is that the concept of technical functions forms a ‘conceptual drawbridge’ between the intentional and structural natures of technical artefacts.Keywords: Intentional and structural descriptions; Technical artefacts; Function theory; Action theory; Use; Design

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Citations of this work

Function essentialism about artifacts.Tim Juvshik - 2021 - Philosophical Studies (9):2943-2964.
The metaphysics of cognitive artifacts.Richard Heersmink - 2016 - Philosophical Explorations 19 (1):78-93.
The metaphysics of cognitive artefacts.Richard Heersmink - 2016 - Philosophical Explorations 19 (1):78-93.

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References found in this work

Functional analysis.Robert E. Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
The teleological notion of 'function'.Karen Neander - 1991 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69 (4):454 – 468.
Actions Versus Functions.Wybo Houkes & Pieter Vermaas - 2004 - The Monist 87 (1):52-71.

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