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Intrinsicality, Independence and Grounding


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This paper investigates the plausibility of Witmer, Butchard and Trogdon’s (2005) proposal to distinguish intrinsic properties from extrinsic ones in terms of independence from accompaniment and grounding. I argue that the proposed criterion is not adequate to determine intrinsicality, since according to it some intuitively extrinsic properties turn out to be intrinsic. I suggest and evaluate two responses: first, one could characterize a conception of independence which is specific to the individual instantiating the property; and second, one could justify two assumptions about properties which entail that counterexample properties of the kinds I present do not exist, most importantly that there are no fundamental properties which are instantiated in an intrinsic fashion by some individuals and an extrinsic fashion by others. Although the latter seems prima facie plausible, I present some potential counterexamples to it from current physical theory. I conclude that the grounding- and independence-based criterion of intrinsicality can be defended from my objections, although the cost Of doing so might make it more attractive to characterize intrinsicality in terms of independence, or in terms of grounding, alone.


Allen. (2020). Intrinsicality, Independence and Grounding. Metaphysica, 71-97.

Acceptance Date Aug 4, 2017
Publication Date Apr 28, 2020
Journal Metaphysica
Print ISSN 1437-2053
Publisher Springer Verlag
Pages 71-97
Keywords Intrinsic and Extrinsic Properties, Grounding, Independence, Loneliness
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