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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Ned Markosian

Second Advisor

Hilary Kornblith

Third Advisor

Phillip Bricker

Fourth Advisor

Amie Thomasson

Fifth Advisor

Erik Cheries

Subject Categories



My dissertation explores the nature of artifacts – things like chairs, tables, and pinball machines – and addresses the question of whether there is anything essential to being an artifact and a member of a particular artifact kind. My dissertation offers new arguments against both the anti-essentialist and current essentialist proposals. Roughly put, the view is that artifacts are successful products of an intention to make something with certain features constitutive of an artifact kind. The constitutive features are often functional features, but may include structural, material, aesthetic, and other features. I further explore the ways in which artifacts are mind-dependent and I argue that this dependence is disjunctive. Not only do they depend on the intentions of their makers, but they also can depend on social groups or public norms and thus artifacts have an importantly social dimension and I argue that this disjunctive account applies not to artifact kinds but to individual artifacts depending on their context of creation.


Included in

Metaphysics Commons