Aristotle on Artificial Products

In David Keyt & Christopher Shields (eds.), Principles and Praxis in Ancient Greek Philosophy: Essays in Ancient Greek Philosophy in Honor of Fred D. Miller, Jr. Springer Verlag. pp. 227-249 (2024)
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Abstract

In the contemporary discussion of artifacts, philosophers grapple with what is known as the continuum problem – the problem of drawing a clear distinction between what is and what is not artificial. They begin with the standard definition of artifacts (rooted in Aristotle’s distinction between what exists by nature and what exists by what he calls technē found in the opening passage of Physics II.1) as “objects made intentionally, in order to accomplish something”. But this definition turns out to be rather vague and not as useful as it first appears. For example, does it include nonhuman animal products or a political community? The aim of this paper is to explicate how Aristotle would address the continuum problem by examining what he means by the crucial phrase, ‘from technē’ (apo technēs) which is found at Phys II.1.192b18 (casting doubt that the standard definition of artifacts does not really capture Aristotle’s view) and to explain what truly counts as “artificial products” for Aristotle.

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Politics: Books V and Vi.David Aristotle Keyt (ed.) - 1999 - Cambridge, Mass.: Oxford University Press UK.
Nature, Justice, and Rights in Aristotle's Politics.Fred Dycus Miller - 1995 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.

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