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Redefining 'Intrinsic'

David Lewis
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Vol. 63, No. 2 (Sep., 2001), pp. 381-398
DOI: 10.2307/3071071
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3071071
Page Count: 18
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Redefining 'Intrinsic'
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Abstract

Several alleged counterexamples to the definition of 'intrinsic' proposed in Rae Langton and David Lewis, 'Defining "Intrinsic"', are unconvincing. Yet there are reasons for dissatisfaction, and room for improvement. One desirable change is to raise the standard of non-disjunctiveness, thereby putting less burden on contentious judgements of comparative naturalness. A second is to deal with spurious independence by throwing out just the disjunctive troublemakers, instead of throwing out disjunctive properties wholesale, and afterward reinstating those impeccably intrinsic disjunctive properties that are not troublemakers. (The second of these changes makes the first more affordable.) A third, suggested by Brian Weatherson, would be to invoke the general principle that the intrinsic and the extrinsic characters of things are independent, rather than relying just on one special case of this principle; but it is none too obvious how to do this.

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