Artefacts: the big picture in broad terms




My aim in this programmatic paper is to explore the relationship among three important notions: intentionality, disposition and artefact. There wouldn’t be artefacts without what I call “intentional work,” a sustained activity directed to the production of some good. I first present contextualism as a method. Then I use it to delimit the problematic concept ARTEFACT, with the intention to apply it to repertoires of mental dispositions that affect directly our personal identity. The unavoidable but loose criterion of human intervention is used, at least to some degree. Attitudes are intentional states with conceptual content, and concepts are dispositions. We acquire concepts during our lives, sometimes unconsciously, sometimes explicitly through definition of some kind, and each cognitive agent has a unique repertoire of concepts and a unique idiolect as well. The idea that our mental representations (at least some of them) are artefacts might sound strange at first sight, but I shall try to show that it makes full sense. Most of our mental dispositions –those provided with a conceptual content– are themselves artefacts. At the end, we are all different psychologically and culturally because our idiolects and repertoires of concepts are different. For a large part, what makes our species so special is an ongoing process through which homo sapiens makes itself what it is.

Keywords: Intentionality, disposition, artefact, contextualism, repertoire.