Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

Honors College

First Advisor

Matthew Weiner


Metaphysics, Hylomorphism, Abstract Artifacts, Ontology, Realism, Dungeons and Dragons


Abstract artifacts are entities without spatial locations brought into existence from intentional creative acts. Examples include fictional characters, musical works, stories, or languages. I argue that abstract artifacts can be causally active. I will demonstrate the validity of this claim with a case study: interactive fictional characters, or IFCs, which include non-playable characters and playable characters from tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). Any theories about the nature of abstract artifacts must include this type of interactive entity. This paper will present the various arguments regarding whether abstract artifacts have causal capabilities and determine if these arguments apply to IFCs. Any theory that considers how an abstract artifact may or may not be causally active must apply to all abstract artifacts. Ultimately, I argue that not all abstract artifacts can be causally inert because such entities as IFCs prove that there is a case for some causal activity.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.