Humans are always interested in distinguishing natural and artificial entities although there is no sharp demarcation between the two categories. Surprisingly, things do not improve when the second type of entities is restricted to the arguably more constrained realm of physical technical artifacts. This paper helps to clarify the relationship between natural entities and technical artifacts by developing a conceptual landscape within which to analyze these notions. The framework is developed by studying three definitions of technical artifact which arise from different perspectives. All these perspectives share two intuitions: that technical artifacts are physical objects that exist by human intervention; and that technical artifacts are entities to be contrasted to natural entities. Yet the perspectives are different in the way they spell out these intuitions: the relevant human intervention may range from intentional selection to intentional production; and the contrast between technical artifacts and natural entities may be introduced by a constitution relation or by defining properties that set technical artifacts apart. The three perspectives are compared and their similarities and dissimilarities are explored with the help of ontological analysis.
Technical artifacts: An integrated perspective
IOS Press, Washington, DC , Paesi Bassi
Applied ontology 9 (2014): 217–235. doi:10.3233/AO-140137
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Borgo, Stefano; Franssen, Maarten; Garbacz, Pawel; Kitamura, Yoshinobu; Mizoguchi, Riichiro; Vermaas, Pieter E./titolo:Technical artifacts: An integrated perspective/doi:10.3233/AO-140137/rivista:Applied ontology/anno:2014/pagin