Journal article

The Moving Cause of Artifacts: the role of techne in metaphysical explanation

Margaret Cameron

Ancient Philosophy Today | Edinburgh University Press | Published : 2019


The essence of artefacts is typically taken to be their function: they are defined in terms of the goals or aims of the artisans that make them. In this paper, an alternative theory is proposed that emphasizes, via a reconstruction of Aristotle's various comments about the nature of artefacts, the role of the moving, or efficient, cause of artefacts. This account shifts the emphasis to the role played by the investment of expertise into the creation (and subsequent being) of artefacts. It turns out that expertise is prior in being and prior in explanation to the function of artefacts, and thus plays the most fundamental role in the explanation of the ontology of artefacts.