"Things fashioned by rational beings with the help of some technique whether primitive or advanced" (M. BUNGE, 1979, p.209)
BUNGE comments: "An artifact is not just one more thing but a thing belonging to a kind that did not exist before the emergence of man or some other rational being. Artifacts may be regarded as constituting a whole new level of reality, namely the artiphysis… Artifacts are at the heart of human society and have properties absent from natural things" (Ibid).
It should however be remembered that the beginnings of rationality are ill-delimited: some apes make and use very simple artifacts, and also some Galapagos finches observed by DARWIN. Even spider's webs or beehives could be considered as artifacts constructed either by individuals or by collectivities, not obviously rational in the commonly accepted sense.
Construction of artifacts seem to be a living systems' capability still in full course of evolutive development.
The multiplication of artifacts deeply transforms the relation between man and the planetary ecosphere because it tends to create a global human invironment more and more distinct from the global environment.
The same effect is also present at more local levels: we are becoming "synthetic fishes in a plastic aquarium", with ever lessened contacts with our natural environment.
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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