The Basic Metaphysics
The chapter develops an account of artifacts as sui generis, mind-dependent entities. The essences of artifacts are tied to the processes by which they are made out of their initial matter (processes of making). Their existence and identity conditions are discussed and it is argued (contra Kripke and others) that an artifact’s original matter is not essential to its identity but that the act by which it is made is. This raises a problem for artifacts that result from mass production since in such cases many artifacts of a single kind are produced by the same act. In response, a theory of collective essences for such objects is developed. Ship of Theseus worries about identity over time are also addressed. Finally, concerns over whether the view is committed to supposing that artifacts can be brought into existence by mere thought or talk are examined and defused.
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