Folk theories of artifact creation: how intuitions about human labor influence the value of artifacts
journal contributionposted on 2020-08-01, 00:00 authored by Madeline Judge, Julian FernandoJulian Fernando, Angela Paladino, Yoshihisa Kashima
What are the consequences of lay beliefs about how things are made? In this article, we describe a Western folk theory of artifact creation, highlighting how intuitive dualism regarding mental and physical labor (i.e., folk psychology) can lead to the perceived transmission of properties from makers to material artifacts (i.e., folk physics), and affect people’s interactions with material artifacts. We show how this folk theory structures the conceptual domain of material artifacts by differentiating the contemporary lay concepts of art/craft and industrial production, and how it influences people’s evaluations of different types of artifacts and their makers. We propose that the folk theory and lay concepts of art/craft and industrial production are best understood within a specific sociohistorical context, and review potential sources of cross-cultural and cross-temporal variation. We conclude by making recommendations for future research and examining the implications for promoting environmental sustainability and social justice in production systems.