Artefact Kinds

Ontology and the Human-Made World

  • Maarten Franssen
  • Peter Kroes
  • Thomas A.C. Reydon
  • Pieter E. Vermaas

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 365)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vi
  2. Maarten Franssen, Peter Kroes, Thomas A. C. Reydon, Pieter E. Vermaas
    Pages 1-14
  3. Artefact Kinds and Metaphysics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 15-15
    2. Crawford L. Elder
      Pages 27-43
    3. Amie L. Thomasson
      Pages 45-62
    4. Maarten Franssen, Peter Kroes
      Pages 63-83
    5. Massimiliano Carrara, Silvia Gaio, Marzia Soavi
      Pages 85-101
  4. Artefact Kinds and New Perspectives

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 103-103
    2. Jesús Vega-Encabo, Diego Lawler
      Pages 105-124
    3. Beth Preston
      Pages 145-163
  5. Artefact Kinds and Engineering Practice

About this book


This book is concerned with two intimately related topics of metaphysics: the identity of entities and the foundations of classification. What it adds to previous discussions of these topics is that it addresses them with respect to human-made entities, that is, artefacts. As the chapters in the book show, questions of identity and classification require other treatments and lead to other answers for artefacts than for natural entities. These answers are of interest to philosophers not only for their clarification of artefacts as a category of things but also for the new light they may shed on these issue with respect to to natural entities.    

This volume is structured in three parts.  The contributions in Part I address basic ontological and metaphysical questions in relation to artefact kinds: How should we conceive of artefact kinds? Are they real kinds? How are identity conditions for artefacts and artefact kinds related? The contributions in Part II address meta-ontological questions: What, exactly, should an ontological account of artefact kinds provide us with? What scope can it aim for? Which ways of approaching the ontology of artefact kinds are there, how promising are they, and how should we assess this? In Part III, the essays offer engineering practice rather than theoretical philosophy as a point of reference. The issues addressed here include: How do engineers classify technical artefacts and on what grounds? What makes specific classes of technical artefacts candidates for ontologically real kinds, and by which criteria?​


Artifacts and Mind-Independence Folk ontology of engineers Formal ontology and artefacts Ontology engineering and artefacts Technical artefacts character of artefacts

Editors and affiliations

  • Maarten Franssen
    • 1
  • Peter Kroes
    • 2
  • Thomas A.C. Reydon
    • 3
  • Pieter E. Vermaas
    • 4
  1. 1.Section of PhilosophyDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Section of PhilosophyDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Institut für PhilosophieLeibniz Universität HannoverHannoverGermany
  4. 4.Section of PhilosophyDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

Bibliographic information