Research | Human-Technology Relations
The Technology Layer is typically used to model the technology architecture of the The path models the relation between two or more nodes, through which these A device is a physical IT resource upon which system software and artifacts. Technical artifacts—artifacts made to serve some practical purpose—are, like relation between the aggregate of the rod and the piece of metal and the. artifacts (and other pertinent historical evidence) of the belief systems-the values society, usually across time," with the history of technology designated as a. " subfield" of . Science Society, but never with the American Studies Association).
A node can be composed of system software.
The name of system software should preferably be a noun referring to the type of execution environment; e. System software may be composed of other system software; e. System Software Notation A technology collaboration specifies which nodes cooperate to perform some task.
The collaborative behavior, including, for example, the communication pattern of these nodes, is modeled by a technology interaction. A technology collaboration typically models a logical or temporary collaboration of nodes, and does not exist as a separate entity in the enterprise. Technology collaboration is a specialization of node, and aggregates two or more cooperating nodes.
A technology collaboration is an active structure element that may be assigned to one or more technology interactions or other technology internal behavior elements, which model the associated behavior. A technology interface may serve a technology collaboration, and a technology collaboration may be composed of technology interfaces. The name of a technology collaboration should preferably be a noun. Technology Collaboration Notation A technology interface specifies how the technology services of a node can be accessed by other nodes.
A technology interface exposes a technology service to the environment. The same service may be exposed through different interfaces. In a sense, a technology interface specifies a kind of contract that a component realizing this interface must fulfill.
This may include, for example, parameters, protocols used, pre- and post-conditions, and data formats. A technology interface may be part of a node through composition not shown in the standard notationwhich means that these interfaces are provided by that node, and can serve other nodes. A technology interface can be assigned to a technology service, to expose that service to the environment.
The name of a technology interface should preferably be a noun. Technology Interface Notations Note: This usage is still permitted but deprecated, and will be removed from a future version of the standard.
A path is used to model the logical communication or distribution relations between nodes. It is realized by one or more communication networks or distribution networks when modeling physical elements; see Chapter 11which represent the physical communication or distribution links. A path connects two or more nodes. A path is realized by one or more networks. A path can aggregate nodes. Path Notation, as Connection and as Box A communication network represents the physical communication infrastructure.
A communication network connects two or more devices. The most basic communication network is a single link between two devices, but it may comprise multiple links and associated network equipment. A network has properties such as bandwidth and latency. A communication network realizes one or more paths. It embodies the physical realization of the logical path between nodes.
A communication network can consist of sub-networks. It can aggregate devices and system software, for example, to model the routers, switches, and firewalls that are part of the network infrastructure. Network Notation, as Connection and as Box Note: The two communication networks together realize a path Data Replication Path. Device Blade System 1 deploys Hypervisor system software for hardware virtualization.
Two system software components are deployed on the Hypervisor: Technology Active Structure Elements Also here, a distinction is made between the external behavior of nodes in terms of technology services, and the internal behavior of these nodes; i.
A technology function describes the internal behavior of a node; for the user of a node that performs a technology function, this function is invisible. If its behavior is exposed externally, this is done through one or more technology services. A technology function abstracts from the way it is implemented. Only the necessary behavior is specified. A technology function may realize technology services.
Technology services of other technology functions may serve technology functions.
- Navigation menu
- 1. Definition
- 2. Metaphysics
A technology function may access technology objects. A node may be assigned to a technology function which means that the node performs the technology function. Technology Function Notation Note: A technology process describes internal behavior of a node; for the user of that node, this process is invisible. A technology process abstracts from the way it is implemented. It can use technology objects as input and use or transform these to produce other technology objects as output. A technology process may realize technology services.
Other technology services may serve be used by a technology process. A technology process may access technology objects. A node may be assigned to a technology process, which means that this node performs the process.
The name of a technology process should clearly identify a series of technology behaviors; e. Technology Process Notation A technology interaction describes the collective behavior that is performed by the nodes that participate in a technology collaboration. This may, for example, include the communication pattern between these components. A technology interaction can also specify the externally visible behavior needed to realize a technology service.
The details of the interaction between the nodes involved in a technology interaction can be expressed during the detailed design using, for example, a UML interaction diagram. A technology collaboration may be assigned to a technology interaction.
A technology interaction may realize a technology service. Technology services may serve a technology interaction. A technology interaction may access artifacts. The name of a technology interaction should clearly identify a series of technology behaviors; e.
Technology Interaction Notation Technology functions and other technology behavior may be triggered or interrupted by a technology event. Also, technology functions may raise events that trigger other infrastructure behavior. Unlike processes, functions, and interactions, an event is instantaneous: Events may originate from the environment of the organization, but also internal events may occur generated by, for example, other devices within the organization.
A technology event may have a time attribute that denotes the moment or moments at which the event happens. For example, this can be used to model time schedules; e. A technology event may trigger or be triggered raised by a technology function, process, or interaction. A technology event may access a data object and may be composed of other technology events. The name of a technology event should preferably be a verb in the perfect tense; e.
Technology Event Notation A technology service exposes the functionality of a node to its environment. This functionality is accessed through one or more technology interfaces. It may require, use, and produce artifacts. A technology service should be meaningful from the point of view of the environment; it should provide a unit of behavior that is, in itself, useful to its users, such as application components and nodes.
Typical technology services may, for example, include messaging, storage, naming, and directory services. Cookie makers do not bring anything new into existence; they merely move pre-existing elementary things around. Thus, while debunking arguments show that we have no good reason to believe ordinary objects do exist, mereological problems show that we have good reasons to believe they do not.
A growing chorus of voices has been raised against this ontological downgrading of ordinary objects, several of whom have been especially concerned to rehabilitate artifacts. Baker subscribes to a constitution view, according to which material things are non-reductively made up of other material things. The fundamental idea of constitution is this: When an octagonal piece of metal is in circumstances of being painted red with white marks of the shape S-T-O-P, and is in an environment that has certain conventions and laws, a new thing—a traffic sign—comes into existence.
Thus the cosmic ray striking a sheet of scrap metal in the proverbial swamp and turning it red with white lettering has not created any artifact at all, let alone a stop sign.
Baker builds the intentional states into the specification of the required circumstances in terms of a relationship between the construction materials and the intentions and knowledge of the constructor. For a stop sign to exist, for example, it must be constructed from metal and paint by someone who understands the function of stop signs, knows how to construct one, intends to construct one to fulfill this function, and is reasonably successful in executing her intentions Both of these views are aimed at first distinguishing natural from artificial objects and then downgrading the latter.
Baker argues that the distinction itself is suspect, both in light of technologies such as genetic engineering and the natural status of the beings with intentional states who create artifacts In short, the whole process of making artifacts is internal to nature and cannot be legitimately considered separate from it by those inclined to be judgmental in ontological matters.
Simon Evnine argues for a version of hylomorphism that is very similar to the constitution view espoused by Baker. Evnine abandons traditional notions of form and focuses instead on the intertwining of the causes that bring a thing into existence and make it the thing it is.
Artifacts thus take pride of place in his metaphysics, because, he claims, they typically have a specifiable origin in the intentions of a maker who chooses material and works it up in accordance with an envisioned function and shape. But he does not try to account for non-living natural objects, whose existence he denies. On the other hand, Evnine deploys his account of artifacts in an interesting way to argue that actions are artifacts—artifactual events rather than artifactual objects.
Amie Thomasson a; and for a succinct summary, takes a different tack, arguing that the existence of artifacts and other ordinary objects is established by the connection between our terms on the one hand, and facts about the world on the other. On her view, the meaning of our terms includes a specification of the conditions for their application. If we then determine empirically that the application conditions of a term are met, the thing to which it refers exists.
A quick check of any kitchen will assure you that these conditions are in fact satisfied, and that spoons therefore exist. Check the music studios and the concert halls as thoroughly as you like, you will not find these conditions satisfied.
But she makes the intention-dependent status of artifacts equally comprehensible, since the intentional states of makers figure prominently in the application conditions of concepts. But questions about the reality and nature of artifact kinds also arise for those who do take artifacts to exist. As we have seen, these theorists resist the objection that the mind-dependence of artifacts compromises their ontological status. But this objection resurfaces with regard to artifact kinds.
The mind-dependence of artifacts implies, at a minimum, that an account of artifact kinds will be very different from an account of natural kinds. This implication is resisted by Crawford Elder, who seeks to establish the existence of artifacts on the basis of a realist account of kinds.
A copied kind is defined by a set of properties that naturally cluster together—a distinctive shape or make-up, a proper function established by a mechanism that copies things of that shape on the basis of successful performance, and a historically proper placement. Similarly, floor lamps are distinctively shaped artifacts that are copied from household to household by a socially based reproductive mechanism because they help humans get around in the dark by performing successfully as light sources strategically located with respect to other household furniture.
Human intentional states do, of course, figure in the copying process for artifacts. Rather, the essential properties that his product will inherit stem from a history of function and of copying that began well before the artisan undertook his work.
Neckties, for example, do not qualify because they do not appear to have a proper function Elder But his account does have the virtue of drawing out useful analogies between natural kinds and artifact kinds.
Amie Thomasson does not share this fear. In a series of important papersb,she points out that realists about kinds are not, in fact, forced to choose between showing that artifact kinds can be understood on the mind-independent model of natural kinds, or denying that artifact kinds are real. There is a third option—denying that mind-independence is the touchstone of reality. Thomasson then builds human intentions and their historical connections into her account of artifact kinds.
Necessarily, for all x and all artifactual kinds K, x is a K only if x is the product of a largely successful intention that Kxwhere one intends Kx only if one has a substantive concept of the nature of Ks that largely matches that of some group of prior makers of Ks if there are any and intends to realize that concept by imposing K-relevant features on the object.
Thomasson also objects to the common assumption that concepts of artifact kinds revolve exclusively around intended function.
While it is true that—in English, anyway—we often label artifact kinds in accordance with function—flashlight, bedspread, pincushion, frying pan, and so on—artifacts actually have an array of features that figure in their concepts.
These include structural or perceptible features, for example, that are also often reflected in our terms—armchair, tripod, zebra crossing definitely not a function designation! Most importantly for Thomasson, they also include normative features concerned with how that kind of artifact is to be treated or regarded. Although sponges and paper towels can both be used to wipe up spills, it is normal to dispose of the paper towel, but to clean the sponge and reuse it.
A distinct approach to artifact kinds is proposed by Thomas Reydon He points out that the nature of natural kinds is currently in play in philosophy of science.
Their mind-independence is traditionally predicated on their having essences. But essentialism ran into trouble when Darwin showed that species—up to that point the very paradigm of natural kinds—are historically fluid and have no clear boundaries. Similar problems have now been recognized even in the kinds of chemistry and physics Khalidi Nevertheless, grouping natural objects into kinds does license useful inferences and ground successful explanations.
The principal criteria for being a natural kind used to be metaphysical: On the alternative approach the principal criteria for being a natural kind no longer are metaphysical but epistemological: We have already touched on this in Section 1 above, in the context of the definitional issues raised by the continuum problem.
We will discuss methodological issues in Section 3. Clearly there would be no good reason to keep so many of them around unless they did something for us. Function is also a salient feature of biological traits. Accounts of biological function, which now comprise a large literature, have inspired many accounts of artifact function. But unlike organisms, artifacts are made to serve human purposes, so human intentional states must be considered.
At one end of the spectrum are accounts that revolve around human intentions, while at the other end are accounts that focus on non-intentional factors; in between are a variety of accounts that mix intentional and non-intentional factors in various proportions.
Karen Neander distinguishes artifact function sharply from biological function. Natural selection acting over the long course of evolutionary history establishes specific effects of biological traits as their functions, in virtue of the reproduction of those traits for those effects. For example, the wings of birds are the result of eons of selection for their effect as airfoils.
In contrast, intentional human selection, acting with knowledge and foresight, establishes specific effects of artifacts as their functions immediately, without any reference to a history of reproduction for those effects. It is enough, in the case of intentional selection, if the designer believes or hopes that the artifact will have the desired effect and selects it for that purpose.
These are related in a relatively arbitrary way to the physical structure of the artifact. Money, for example, runs the gamut from gold ingots to bitcoin.
Its functions—medium of exchange, measure of value, and so on—are imposed on these physical bearers by our collective acceptance of them as money. Searle supplies an account of collective intentionality to underwrite this feature. Ruth Millikan offers a general theory of function that, in the case of artifacts, mixes intentional and non-intentional elements.
Her main interest is in proper functions—what a biological trait or artifact is supposed to do, and is malfunctioning if it cannot do. This is what the artifact is supposed to do, even if it is not able to do it because of damage or an unfavorable environment.
These are functions that are established by something that has the direct proper function of producing something else to accomplish a purpose. It has no history of selection and reproduction for the effect of camouflaging the chameleon, and yet we want to say that that is its proper function. Thus this novel shade of brown does have the derived proper function of camouflaging the chameleon. Derived proper functions in the realm of artifacts bring intention back to the fore.
The direct proper function of intentions is to produce something else to accomplish whatever purpose the intention incorporates. Thus, if you intend to produce a can opener, the execution of your intention brings into existence a device having the derived proper function of opening cans.
Even if this device works in a completely novel way, and even if it is not capable of performing as envisioned, opening cans is still what it is supposed to do. Usually, the direct and derived proper functions of artifacts coincide—in the case of a standard can opener, for instance, we have both a history of selection and reproduction and a current intention to reproduce yet another can opener.
But in the case of novel prototypes, especially, it is intention alone that establishes the derived proper function. Their approach is to derive a theory of artifact function from a theory of artifact use and design.
On our theory, an artifact function is a capacity, supposed or actual, which has a preferential status in the context of certain actions and beliefs. It is therefore a highly relational property, which supervenes on both the actual physical makeup of an artifact and on the beliefs and actions of human agents, designers as well as users. This is the predominant intentionalist element in their account. But on their view, this use plan must be supported by a justification that the plan will realize the function, and this requires knowledge of the causal roles of the physicochemical capacities of the artifact.
Through this required justification the actual physical structure of the artifact constrains the intentions articulated in the use plan. This is a non-intentionalist element. In addition, they require a historical element in the form of the communication of the use plan from designer to user and subsequently from user to user. Other mixed theories include those of Paul Griffiths and Philip Kitcher Her initial concern is to advance a pluralist theory of artifact function according to which artifacts have both proper functions and what Preston calls system functions.
For example, the proper function of plates is to hold food for serving or eating. But they function equally well as saucers for potted plants, or in a stack to weight down tofu or eggplant slices to extract the moisture. Preston resists reformulating them in intentionalist terms, while acknowledging that in the artifact case human intentions and other intentional states do play a role in implementing the history of selective reproduction and the system context, respectively.
In support of this resolutely non-intentionalist stance, Preston argues that human intentions do not arise in a vacuum, but are reproduced in and through the process by which material culture, with its myriad of functional artifacts, is reproduced. Intentions to make plates are reproduced in plate cultures as surely as the plates themselves; and only in cultures with both potted plants and plates do intentions to use plates as pot saucers form.
The only viable view is one that sees human purposes and the proper functions of items of material culture indissolubly linked in patterns of use and reproduction.
Thus, it no longer seems reasonable to ask which came first, the purpose or the proper function. Both are produced and reproduced through the self-same social process. The theories discussed in this section encounter a number of important problems in accounting for function phenomena in the artifact realm. One such problematic phenomenon is the distinction between proper and non-proper functions. This does occur in the biological realm—pigeon beaks did not evolve to peck buttons for a food reward, for example—but it is relatively rare.
In material culture, it is ubiquitous. Humans are just very good at adopting whatever artifact will accomplish their purposes, regardless of its proper function.
Stop a random person in the street and ask—she will have a story. Intentionalist approaches have more difficulty making this distinction, because for these views human intentions are the only mechanism for establishing functions, and this elides the distinction unless some difference can be discerned in the intentions themselves.
Another problem is accounting for malfunction. Just as any theory of representation must account for misrepresentation, any theory of function must say something about cases of failure to perform, and whether or not that failure is a malfunction or something else.
Addressing this issue depends to some extent on the distinction between proper and non-proper functions, because malfunction only seems an appropriate designation in the case of failure to perform a proper function—failure to do what the artifact is supposed to do, in other words.
This issue is especially important for the philosophy of technology and engineering side of the artifact debates, where understanding the epistemology of problem solving and innovation depends in part on understanding failure to function and how to learn from and deal with it. Authors who have covered this issue include NeanderBakerFranssen, Houkes and Vermaas and Kroes A third problem is how to account for the functions—if any—of novel prototypes.
Non-intentional accounts have more difficulty in this case, for a truly novel prototype has no history of selection and reproduction; and if it does not work, as many prototypes in fact do not, then function established in terms of systemic causal role or physicochemical capacities is not possible either.
The non-intentionalist then is caught between biting the bullet—unsuccessful novel prototypes just do not have functions—or introducing an ad hoc intentionalist element. This issue has been canvassed by Preston,MillikanVermaas and Houkes and Kroes A related problem is how to account for so-called phantom functions Preston —the functions of artifacts that are constitutionally incapable of ever fulfilling them.
Talismans to ensure fertility, for example, are now widely believed in Western culture to have no efficacy, but it is difficult to escape the intuition that ensuring fertility is nevertheless their proper function. Here again, it is the non-intentionalist who is caught flatfooted. Although artifacts like fertility talismans are indeed reproduced for a purpose, the standard requirement for establishing proper function is that the artifact be selected for reproduction on the basis of successful performance.
Similarly, function established by systemic causal role requires that the artifact actually perform the relevant causal role. Worse yet, the option of just biting the bullet and agreeing that such artifacts have no functions is nowhere near as plausible as in the case of unsuccessful novel prototypes because of the prevalence of talismans, amulets, religious artifacts, inefficacious medicines and supplements, and the like.
Authors who have addressed this issue include GriffithsPreston, ThomassonParsons and Holm Epistemology The metaphysics of artifacts is a fairly well delineated set of discussions, carried out by a fairly cohesive group of philosophers. In contrast, the epistemology of artifacts is more interdisciplinary in nature, ranging over anthropology, archaeology, cognitive science, and psychology, in addition to philosophy.
Within philosophy it runs the gamut from environmental philosophy to philosophy of mind. Rather than only asking whether it carves the world at a joint, we can also ask: Is it serving our epistemic purposes well? I have tried to cast doubt on the idea that a theoretically useful notion of artifact can be built around its usual prototypes: There is no good reason why a naturalistic social science should treat separately, or even give pride of place to, cultural productions that are both more clearly intended for a purpose and more thoroughly designed by humans, that is, to prototypical artifacts.
In the Paleolithic, before there were any domesticates other than dogs, the few technologies people used in their daily lives were paradigmatic artifacts—stone tools, baskets, beads, and so on. So, Sperber speculates, we evolved a psychological disposition to classify things in accordance with the predominance of such artifacts.
We then retained this disposition right through the Neolithic transition to agriculture 12, years ago, which made biological artifacts as Sperber calls domesticates proportionally the most common type of artifact in human experience until the Industrial transition of only a couple of centuries ago.
Second, Sperber argues, information technology has increasingly contributed to our environment artifacts that would have astonished Aristotle with their ability to act on their own, beyond any intention their creators may have. Simultaneously, biotechnology has made impressing our intentions on our biological artifacts increasingly effective. These countervailing trends further reduce the dominance of erstwhile paradigmatic artifacts in our lives.
The initial problem she identifies is that phenomena of interest from the point of view of human interaction with the environment do not divide naturally into interactions with artifacts and interactions with other sorts of things. We noted an example of this in Section 1 —intentionally made paths, which do qualify as artifacts, are used in the same way as unintentionally made paths.
It thus seems methodologically wrongheaded to rule the unintentionally made path out of consideration on a definitional technicality. Similarly, residues such as sawdust, whey, or fingerprints often enter into human practices in important ways, but a focus on artifacts as traditionally defined may leave these phenomena out of account as well. Preston also argues that it is precisely the central concepts in a field of investigation that should be left open-ended, on pain of epistemic distortion of the results.
Steven Vogelargues that no good sense can be made of the artifact-nature distinction, making it unfit for the purposes of environmental philosophy. His argument unrolls against the backdrop of a longstanding controversy in environmental philosophy about the value of ecological restoration—the practice of restoring areas damaged by mining, industrial waste and the like to something as close as possible to the condition they were in before the damage was done.
The ontological status of such sites has been challenged on the grounds that such restoration does not actually restore nature but rather creates an artifact Katz Worse yet, this artifact is passed off as nature, so it is a fake Elliot This casts doubt on the ethical and political value of ecological restoration as an environmental practice.
Vogel responds by questioning the unspoken assumption that environmental philosophy is about nature, and environmental activism about protecting nature from human activity.
He argues that nature conceived as pristine and independent in this way does not exist—certainly not now that human activity is global in its effects, as Bill McKibben noted long ago, but in principle, since humans, like all other living things, change their environment simply by living in it.
He begins with the claim that our concepts of nature—already multiple, and not always carefully distinguished—are riddled with antinomy-generating ambiguities. The epistemological backwash leaves us mired in nostalgia, unable to see and address environmental problems as they actually exist. In particular, we are unable to see that ecological restoration does not produce artifacts by the traditional definition, since restored areas are designed precisely to escape our designs and outrun our intentions.
Furthermore, Vogel argues, all human productions, including artifacts, are wild in this sense. Rather than focusing on unintentional creations, as Preston and Sperber tend to do, Vogel emphasizes the ways in which artifacts outrun all our creative intentions.
Building an artifact requires black boxes all the way down: There is a gap, in the construction of every artifact, between the intention with which the builder acts and the consequences of her acts, a gap that is ineliminable and indeed constitutive of what it is to construct something, and in this gap resides something like what I earlier called wildness.
Hilary Putnam famously favors the baptismal account for both natural kinds and artifact kinds. Thus if we are to refer to natural objects reliably at all, it cannot be by way of definite description.
But artifacts, Schwartz says, have publicly accessible natures based on form and function, so reference to them is grounded in description rather than a baptismal event. Amie Thomassonb carves out a nuanced position based on her view that the intentions and concepts of human makers are constitutive of artifact kinds Section 2.
If so, then some makers are in an epistemically privileged position with regard to given artifacts, and so do refer to them in virtue of having a substantive concept of what being an artifact of that kind involves. Thomasson acknowledges that most speakers are not in this epistemically privileged position. Users are not, and even many who qualify as makers in the causal sense—workers on a production line, for instance—may not be.
On the other hand, having the concept is arguably the result of familiarity with the artifact rather than any special semantic capacity enjoyed by makers. Similarly, Kornblith argues against Schwartz that the function of artifacts is not necessarily accessible—a problem faced frequently by archaeologists, for instance—and thus that even in cases of objects where the form and function are familiar, it is not this familiarity that grounds the ability to refer.
The baptismal account of reference therefore must apply to both artifacts and natural objects, just as Putnam said. Much of the epistemology of artifacts is, in the first instance, the province of cognitive psychology, not philosophy. In an influential article, Paul Bloom argues that we cannot categorize artifacts based on form, use, or function. Form and use are both too variable to be reliable. Beanbag chairs do not look much like other chairs, and even if every flatiron in existence were currently being used as a doorstop, we would not want to categorize them as doorstops.
Vary the form of something sufficiently, and people will decline to categorize it as a chair even if it is made to be sat on. On the other hand, present them with something that looks like a chair but is made to be a plant stand, and they will still categorize it as a chair. In response, Bloom proposes an intentional-historical theory, according to which categorization of artifacts depends on our being able to infer that an artifact was successfully made with the intention that it belong to a particular category.
Form and use are good grounds for such inferences, and this explains our intuition that these factors have something to do with how we categorize artifacts. So if something looks like a chair and we regularly observe people sitting on it, we reasonably infer it was made with the intention that it be a chair, and we categorize it accordingly. In a series of experiments, they show that artifact categorization is sensitive to communicative goals in specific situations.
If this approach is on the right track, artifact kinds are not psychologically stable or clearly demarcated groupings. It may be that this label is used for what is actually a heterogeneous collection of processes.
As philosophers might anticipate, the underlying general issue is between empiricist and nativist approaches to concept acquisition. But the now vast experimental literature on child development means that theories in this area are both numerous and highly sophisticated. Since artifacts and animals move in characteristically different ways, the first level of differentiation these image schemas provide is vague, global concepts of these two types of objects.
Mandler holds that there is no good reason to think these concepts are innate, nor is there any good reason to think that the perceptual meaning analysis mechanisms that produce them are domain specific. All that is innate, on her view, is a domain-general mechanism that enables the child to analyze her perceptual input. However, Carey argues, there is no explanation of how the child gets from these representations to a representation of agency, for example. No matter how distinctive the motions of animals, they do not by themselves yield concepts of intention, attention, or goal-directedness.
Core cognition is characterized by innate, domain-specific mechanisms for the analysis of perceptual input, designed by natural selection to construct domain-specific representations of the world, such as intention in the agent domain, or causality in the object domain.
The developmental issue, then, boils down to the question of whether we can construct artifact concepts with only a single, domain-general mechanism for analyzing perceptual input, or whether we need at least two domain-specific mechanisms with quite different output. No one disputes that humans use artifacts in their cognitive practices—we do our sums on paper or with electronic devices; and memory aids from individual grocery lists to monuments enshrining cultural memory are ubiquitous.
But in recent years a loosely interconnected collection of approaches has characterized artifacts as much more intimately involved in these processes than mere use might suggest.