Res Philosophica

Volume 98, Issue 4, October 2021

Tim JuvshikOrcid-ID
Pages 545-572

Artifactualization without Physical Modification

Much recent discussion has focused on the nature of artifacts, particularly on whether they have essences. While it’s often held that artifacts are intentiondependent and necessarily have functions, it’s equally held, though far less discussed, that artifacts are the result of physical modification of some material objects. This article argues that the physical modification condition on artifacts is false. First, it formulates the physical modification condition perspicuously for the first time. Second, it offers counterexamples to this condition. Third, it considers and rejects two responses to these counterexamples, one which appeals to the distinction between being a K and being used as a K and another which argues that the counterexamples are merely of functional, not artifactual, kinds. Finally, it considers and rejects a more general objection that appropriation makes artifact creation too easy. Therefore, artifacts can be created by appropriation, and I sketch some success conditions for such appropriation.