Technical Artefacts: Creations of Mind and Matter

A Philosophy of Engineering Design

  • Peter Kroes

Part of the Philosophy of Engineering and Technology book series (POET, volume 6)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Peter Kroes
    Pages 1-11
  3. Peter Kroes
    Pages 13-45
  4. Peter Kroes
    Pages 47-88
  5. Peter Kroes
    Pages 127-161
  6. Peter Kroes
    Pages 195-201
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 203-205

About this book


This book presents an attempt to understand the nature of technical artefacts and the way they come into being. Its primary focus is the kind of technical artefacts designed and produced by modern engineering. In spite of their pervasive influence on human thinking and doing, and therefore on the modern human condition, a philosophical analysis of technical artefacts and engineering design is lacking. Among the questions addressed are: How do technical artefacts fit into the furniture of the universe? In what sense are they different from objects from the natural world, or from the social world? What kind of activity is engineering design and what does it mean to say that technical artefacts are the embodiment of a design? Does it make sense to consider technical artefacts to be morally good or bad by themselves because of the way they influence human life?

The book advances the thesis that technical artefacts, conceived of as physical constructions with a technical function, have a dual nature; they are hybrid objects combining physical and intentional features. It proposes a theory of technical functions and technical artefact kinds that does justice to this dual nature, analyses engineering design from the dual nature point of view, and argues that technical artefacts, because of their dual nature, have inherent moral significance.


Houkes and Vermaas ICE-theory Preston Searle Technical Artifacts Kinds design paradigm functional design features intrinsic moral significance modern engineering moral status of technical artifacts socio-technical system technical artefacts

Authors and affiliations

  • Peter Kroes
    • 1
  1. 1., Department of PhilosophyDelft University of TechnologyDelftNetherlands

Bibliographic information