Volume 23, Issue 2, 2019
A Practically Useful Metaphysics of Technology
In the past couple of decades, there has been a tendency to identify the study of artefacts as one of the central subject matters of philosophy of technology. This subject identification relies on a metaphysical distinction between artefacts and non-artefacts, and is supported by the premise that artefacts are philosophically significant in ways that non-artefacts are not. Here it is argued that if we want philosophy of technology to be practically useful, the artefact/non-artefact distinction is a misleading place to start, as this distinction is developed through a metaphysical approach which is of little use for practical decisions and evaluations. Instead, we need to adopt a different metaphysical approach which is practically useful. This alternative approach is called activity realism, as opposed to entity realism in light of which artefacts are defined. Activity realism provides a metaphysical foundation for a practically useful philosophy of technology.