Philosophy of Engineering and Technology

Technical Artefacts: Creations of Mind and Matter

A Philosophy of Engineering Design

Authors: Kroes, Peter

  • Comprehensive overview of the dual nature of technical artifacts
  • Opens up the black box of the design and making of technology
  • Combines a theory of technical functions with a theory of technical artefact kinds
  • Clear discussion of the philosophical problems of the design of technical artefacts
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Hardcover $179.00
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Softcover $179.00
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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.

About the authors

Peter Kroes is professor in the Philosophy of Technology at the Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. He has an engineering degree in physics (1974) and wrote a PhD thesis on the notion of time in physical theories (University of Nijmegen, 1982). He has been teaching courses in the philosophy of science and technology and the ethics of technology, mainly for engineering students. His research in the philosophy of technology focuses on  the nature of technical artifacts and engineering design, the modeling of socio-technical systems and the nature of technological knowledge. His book publications include: A philosophy of technology; from technical artefacts to socio-technical systems (together with Pieter Vermaas, Ibo van de Poel, Maarten Franssen and Wybo Houkes, Morgan and Claypool, 2011), Functions in biological and artificial worlds; comparative philosophical perspectives (editor with Ulrich Krohs, MIT Press, 2009) and The empirical turn in the philosophy of technology  (editor with Anthony Meijers, JAI/Elsevier Science, 2000). He also edited the part on the Philosophy of Engineering Design of the Handbook of Philosophy of Technology and Engineering Sciences (editor. Anthonie Meijers, Elsevier, 2009). Further information may be found on his website: http://tbm.tudelft.nl/index.php?id=32462&L=0.

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $139.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-94-007-3940-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $179.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-94-007-3939-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $179.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-94-017-8509-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Technical Artefacts: Creations of Mind and Matter
Book Subtitle
A Philosophy of Engineering Design
Authors
Series Title
Philosophy of Engineering and Technology
Series Volume
6
Copyright
2012
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
eBook ISBN
978-94-007-3940-6
DOI
10.1007/978-94-007-3940-6
Hardcover ISBN
978-94-007-3939-0
Softcover ISBN
978-94-017-8509-9
Series ISSN
1879-7202
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
X, 206
Topics