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Defining 'Intrinsic'

Rae Langton and David Lewis
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Vol. 58, No. 2 (Jun., 1998), pp. 333-345
DOI: 10.2307/2653512
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2653512
Page Count: 13
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Defining 'Intrinsic'
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Abstract

Something could be round even if it were the only thing in the universe, unaccompanied by anything distinct from itself. Jaegwon Kim once suggested that we define an intrinsic property as one that can belong to something unaccompanied. Wrong: unaccompaniment itself is not intrinsic, yet it can belong to something unaccompanied. But there is a better Kim-style definition. Say that P is independent of accompaniment iff four different cases are possible: something accompanied may have P or lack P, something unaccompanied may have P or lack P. P is basic intrinsic iff (1) P and not-P are nondisjunctive and contingent, and (2) P is independent of accompaniment. Two things (actual or possible) are duplicates iff they have exactly the same basic intrinsic properties. P is intrinsic iff no two duplicates differ with respect to P.

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