Crítica, Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía, Volume 46, number 136, abril 2014
Against Artifactual Epistemic Privilege
[Contra el privilegio epistémico con respecto a los artefactos]
Víctor M. Verdejo
Department of Logic and Moral Philosophy
Faculty of Philosophy
University of Santiago de Compostela

Abstract: The deep intentional roots of artifacts and artifactual kinds seem to give intuitive as well as philosophical support to a form of epistemic privilege for makers regarding the objects they create. In this paper, I critically examine the thesis of epistemic privilege for artifact creators and present a counterexample based on anti-individualism. Several objections to the counterexample are considered and responded to. I conclude that, if anti-individualism is true, then the alleged epistemic privilege of creators of artifacts is either false or an explanatorily idle label. I argue, finally, that even if anti-individualism forces us to reject epistemic privilege for artifact kinds, these kinds may exhibit metaphysical and semantic mind-dependence, something that would keep them still distinctly apart from natural kinds and leave their essentially intentional nature untouched.
Keywords: author, creation, concept possession, anti-individualism, mind-dependence

Abstract in Spanish | PDF in English (166 Kb)