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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 53, Issue 2, June 2013

Michael Hector Storck
Pages 107-115

Arts and Artifacts
An Aristotelian Approach

In this paper I consider the nature of artifacts by looking at them as essentially connected with art in the broad sense of τέχvη or ars. After discussing the natural and the artificial in the light of Aristotle’s definition of nature in Physics II.1, I discuss artifacts using Aristotle’s definition of art in Nicomachean Ethics VI.4. This approach to artifacts is able to include not only paintings, poems, and plays but also found works of art, for there are some arts, such as navigation, whose making consists in finding rather than physical alteration. In addition to accommodating all the different sorts of artifacts that are produced by human making, approaching artifacts in this way implies that being an artifact does not distinguish any one kind of being. Rather, all artifacts essentially result from and thus relate to human making understood as action directed at something apart from the maker.

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