Materiality and intentionality. Some difficulties of material agency theory and the ecological approach


  • Andrés Pablo Vaccari Universidad Nacional de Río Negro
  • Diego Parente Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata



Philosophy of technology, material agency, ecological approaches to cognition


In this paper we evaluate the strengths and limitations of two approaches that privilege material dimensions of technology in their respective accounts of technical practice: the ecological account of Tim Ingold and the material agency theory of Lambros Malafouris. Both these authors eschew the centralized intentionality of classical approaches in favor of epistemic externalism: the view that ecological and material affordances are the key drivers of agency in action, and determinant of artifactual form. We argue that these approaches have significant difficulties accounting for some amply recognized, key features of technical agency at the center of debates in the philosophy of technology—namely, its normative and teleological aspects.

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Author Biographies

Andrés Pablo Vaccari, Universidad Nacional de Río Negro

Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas- CONICET
Centro de Estudios en Ciencia, Tecnología, Cultura y Desarrollo
Universidad Nacional de Río Negro
Viedma, Río Negro, Argentina

Diego Parente, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata

Departamento de Filosofía. Facultad de Humanidades
Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata
Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina


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How to Cite

Vaccari, A. P., & Parente, D. (2017). Materiality and intentionality. Some difficulties of material agency theory and the ecological approach. Estudios De Filosofía, (56), 152–178.



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