- There is a long, though not very popular tradition, in which artifacts are viewed as the poor cousins of organisms - i.e., the former are ontologically suspect in a way that the latter are not.
- This paper is a contribution to the ontological demotion of artifacts. Positing the existence of artifacts gives rise to a number of intractable metaphysical puzzles.
- Organisms can evade such quandaries for they are unlike artifacts in two significant ways.
- First, their existence and their nature are not essentially dependent upon the intentions of others.
- Secondly, they possess the internal power to acquire, assimilate, maintain, and remove matter.
- An eliminativist stance towards artifacts commits me to maintaining that the reader is not seated in a chair, near a table, perusing a paper. In fact, the reader is not wearing any clothes. This might lead you to suggest that the clothes I should be wearing are a hospital gown and straightjacket. Before you have me committed or medicated, let me say I do believe that this room contains atoms arranged chairwise, atoms arranged table-wise, atoms arranged paper-wise and atoms arranged clothes-wise, it is just that these do not compose any chairs, tables, papers or clothes. In other words, in a spatial region where there are only X number of atoms arranged chair-wise, there wouldn’t exist X+1 number of things - those atoms and a chair.
For the full text, see Hershenov - Organisms, Artifacts, and Eliminativism.
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