Technical functions : a drawbridge between the intentional and structural nature of technical artefacts

P.E. Vermaas, W.N. Houkes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

In this paper we present an action-theoretic account of artefact using and designing and describe our ICE-theory of function ascriptions to technical artefacts. By means of this account and theory we analyse the thesis of the dual nature of technical artefacts according to which descriptions of technical artefacts draw on structural and intentional conceptualisations. We show that the ascription of technical functions to technical artefacts can connect the intentional and structural parts of descriptions of artefacts, but also separate these parts. Our conclusion is that the concept of technical functions forms a ‘conceptual drawbridge’ between the intentional and structural natures of technical artefacts. Keywords: Intentional and structural descriptions; Technical artefacts; Function theory; Action theory; Use; Design
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-18
Number of pages14
JournalStudies in History and Philosophy of Science
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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