i. Aristotelian theories
ii. Micro compositional nihilism (nothing is a proper part; the substances are microscopic things)
iii. Macro compositional nihilism (nothing is a proper part; the substances are macroscopic things)
iv. Parmenideanism (there can only be one thing)
i. Chess-board covered with mud. Pieces are holes in the mud, moved by inserting a template the shape of the piece, and then shifting it slowly, so that the mud re-forms behind the template. (Pieces must be small to allow castling and knights to jump over pieces.)
ii. World filled with a medium, with laws of physics giving neat dynamical laws for the holes. Can easily imagine the holes being thought of as things. Imagine now that philosophers and physicists in that world come to the conclusion that the holes don’t exist. Should common-sense really rise up against them?
i. It’s really easy to imagine a world where waves are owned, manipulated, etc. They would be thought of as artifacts.
i. Too type-like to be substantial, but creatable.
i. Loneliness: x is a substance only if it is metaphysically possible that only x and its parts exist.
I. But theists also need to reject Loneliness. (Interestingly, theists seem overrepresented among artifactual nihilists.)
ii. Truthmaker I (for nominalists): x is a substance only if all the parts of the truthmaker of “x exists” (where x is a proper name) are parts of x. But a part of what it is for an artifact exist is for some social practice to exist or someone to have an intention.
iii. Truthmaker II (for Platonists): x is a substance only if all the parts of the truthmaker of “x exists” (where x is a proper name) are parts of x, or are necessary beings, or are token relations between x and one or more necessary beings.
i. As long as we perform the physical motions, with the same tools, operating on the same material ingredients, and getting the same chancy microphysical events, the same extra-bodily objectively existing material objects come into existence (barring miracles). I.e., the mind affects the physical world only through the body (barring miracles). But how many artifacts come to exist depends on what we had in mind when we made what we made:
I. Unconsciously kneading clay into a cup shape, and then accidentally knocking it into the fire.
II. Trying to make a ball versus trying to make a chair, and in both cases ending up with something ball-shaped.
III. Making a loveseat versus making two armless chairs temporarily joined together.
ii. Creation of objects without the relevant kind of physical interaction:
I. I find on my property a stump that looks like a chair. I don’t touch it, but I take a picture of it, and sell it on ebay as a chair. You buy it, pick it up, and use it as a chair. Surely, I sold you a chair. By picking out the stump visually and treating it as a chair, I made it into a chair. (If not, when did it become a chair? Only when you sat on it? Surely not—chairs leave the factory as chairs, even if no one tests them.) I did this, however, without any physical interaction with the chair.
A. Further question: If the chair came into existence simultaneously with some mental action that was not relevantly causally related to the chair or the stump, which reference frame is the “simultaneously” relative to? (Surely it doesn’t affect when the chair comes into existence whether I am on a merry-go-round when I am thinking about it.) Maybe: chair comes into existence as soon as light can travel from me-thinking to the chair. But why should light travel matter here?
II. If it is insisted that the use is necessary, note that use does not imply any relevant causal input from me. On my land, lightning strikes some sand, creating some lenses. A hurricane blows the lenses into a conveniently shaped hollow log, which happens to be pitched up at a 45 degree angle. I then look at the stars through the log, using it as a telescope. It is surely my telescope at this point. But while it has relevantly causally affected me (focusing light into my eyes), I haven’t causally affected it. So I can create objects without causally affecting them. That is absurd. And when did the telescope come into existence? When the light reached my eyes, or earlier? If earlier, then it became a telescope without any relevant causal interaction in either direction. If when it reached my eyes, then I cannot say that the telescope focused the light into my eyes, which is also absurd.
i. One might think that modal universalism would allow an artifactual realist to uphold the anti-causal principle. But this is false. On modal universalism, a chair might be collocated with an object that satisfies the anti-causal principle, but it does not itself satisfy it.
ii. The only problem with this argument is that the anti-causal principle is false. :-)
i. What if light is a material thing? Well, replace a flat Chinese Chess piece with a shadow, then.
i. Maximality: Yes. But that’s the wrong answer, since then it is immoral to take the artifact apart, which is absurd.
ii. Minimality: No. That’s the right answer, but then make an artifact out of my head. By minimalism, it will be thinking, and I won’t be. Which is absurd.
i. Then in all honesty we had better stop talking about them.
i. Possible problem: The practice involving the Titanic can come into existence before the Titanic is built and persist even after it is destroyed.