The paper argues that in order to understand the nature of technological knowledge it is necessary to develop an epistemology of technical functions. This epistemology has to address the problem of the meaning of the notion of function. In the dominant interpretations, functions are considered to be dispositions, comparable to physical dispositions such as fragility and solubility. It is argued that this conception of functions is principally flawed. With the help of Carnap’s analysis of dispositional terms it is shown that there is a fundamental difference between physical dispositional terms and functional dispositional terms. This difference concerns the issue of the normativity; with regard to functional dispositions, it makes sense to construct normative statements of a particular kind, with regard to physical dispositions it does not.
Keywords Applied Philosophy  Philosophy of Science  Social Science
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ISBN(s) 1091-8264
DOI techne2001531
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A Formal Ontology of Artefacts.Gilles Kassel - 2010 - Applied Ontology 5 (3):223-246.
La peculiaridad del conocimiento tecnológico.Alberto Cupani - 2006 - Scientiae Studia 4 (3):353-371.

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