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)
  Copy   BIBTEX


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.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 93,098

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Aristotle's Physics II 1 and Cultivated Plants.Errol G. Katayama - 2018 - Science in Context 31 (4):405-419.
Arts and Artifacts.Michael Hector Storck - 2013 - International Philosophical Quarterly 53 (2):107-115.
Aristotle's Metaphysics Alpha: Symposium Aristotelicum.Carlos Steel (ed.) - 2012 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
How Does Aristotle Understand the Paradox of the Meno?Nathan Elvidge - 2023 - Journal of Ancient Philosophy 17 (1):80-95.
Arts and Artifacts.Michael Hector Storck - 2013 - International Philosophical Quarterly 53 (2):107-115.
Four-Eighths Hephaistos: Artifacts and Living Things in Aristotle.Kathrin Koslicki - 1997 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 14 (1):77 - 98.
The shrinking difference between artifacts and natural objects.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2008 - American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers.


Added to PP

6 (#1,485,580)

6 months
6 (#587,658)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

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.

View all 31 references / Add more references