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Eaton, Marcia Muelder, , . Art, Artifacts, and Intentions
1969, American Philosophical Quarterly 6(2): 165 – 169
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Content: The paper is written in support of the claim that artworks have to be artefacts. In a series of thought experiments involving driftwood and poems typed by monkeys, Eaton argues that linguistic objects such as warnings or poems have to result from intentional actions. She supports this argument by distinguishing linguistic objects from linguistic actions. To understand an utterance, it is necessary to not only explicate the meaning of the words used, but also to interpret the linguistic action which resulted in it. Literary works require interpretation, and interpretation requires reference to the linguistic actions of the work’s creator – their intentions. So literary works need to result from intentional actions, i.e. be artefacts. Similarly, artworks are objects of interpretation and thus must be artefacts.

Comment: The artefactuality requirement is involved in various definitions of art and thus Eaton’s paper can be used in many contexts. With its narrow topic and a lack of introduction to any particular definitions, in the context of undergraduate teaching it remains a rather specialised reading. It is best used as a further reading, or as a required reading in higher level modules which already introduced more general works on art classification.

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Haslanger, Sally, , . Persistence Through Time
2003, In Michael J. Loux & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics. Oxford University Press, 315-354.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Introduction: Things change: objects come into existence, last for a while, go out of existence, move through space, change their parts, change their qualities, change in their relations to things. All this would seem to be uncontroversial. But philosophical attention to any of these phenomena can generate perplexity and has resulted in a number of long-standing puzzles. One of the most famous puzzles about change threatens to demonstrate that nothing can persist through time, that all existence is momentary at best. Let’s use the term ‘alteration’ for the sort of change that occurs when a persisting object changes its properties.

Comment: A good overview of the philosophical issues involved in persistence through time. Would be a good preliminary material in a philosophy of time course. Or, since this is a fundamental philosophical problem, could be used in an introduction to philosophy course as a more clear alternative or supplement to ancient sources.

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Ney, Alyssa, , . Metaphysics: An Introduction
2015, Routledge.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by: Tyron Goldschmidt

Publisher’s note: <em>Metaphysics: An Introduction</em> combines comprehensive coverage of the core elements of metaphysics with contemporary and lively debates within the subject. It provides a rigorous and yet accessible overview of a rich array of topics, connecting the abstract nature of metaphysics with the real world. Topics covered include: Basic logic for metaphysics, An introduction to ontology, Abstract objects, Material objects Critiques of metaphysics, Free Will, Time, Modality, Persistence, Causation, Social ontology: the metaphysics of race. This outstanding book not only equips the reader with a thorough knowledge of the fundamentals of metaphysics but provides a valuable guide to contemporary metaphysics and metaphysicians. Additional features such as exercises, annotated further reading, a glossary and a companion website www.routledge.com/cw/ney will help students find their way around this subject and assist teachers in the classroom

Comment: An excellent textbook to use for an introduction to metaphysics course. Provides a great overview of and introduction to topics such as modality, inexistence, causation, time, race, social ontology, and the special composition question. This textbook could be used as the key reading for the whole course.

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Thomasson, Amie L., , . The controversy over the existence of ordinary objects
2010, Philosophy Compass 5 (7):591-601.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Naomi Osorio-Kupferblum

Abstract: The basic philosophical controversy regarding ordinary objects is: Do tables and chairs, sticks and stones, exist? This paper aims to do two things: first, to explain why how this can be a controversy at all, and second, to explain why this controversy has arisen so late in the history of philosophy. Section 1 begins by discussing why the ‘obvious’ sensory evidence in favor of ordinary objects is not taken to be decisive. It goes on to review the standard arguments against the existence of ordinary objects – including those based on problems with causal redundancy, parsimony, co-location, sorites arguments, and the special composition question. Section 2 goes on to address what it is about the contemporary approach to metaphysics that invites and sustains this kind of controversy, and helps make evident why debates about ordinary objects lead so readily to debates in metametaphysics about the nature of metaphysics itself.

Comment: This is an excellent overview of arguments for and against the existence of ordinary objects.
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