Naturalness, Intrinsicality, and Duplication
Sider (Ted)
Source: Ted Sider's Website: Sider's unpublished PhD Dissertation.
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. This dissertation explores the concepts of naturalness, intrinsicality, and duplication1. An intrinsic property is had by an object purely in virtue of the way that object is considered in itself. Duplicate2 objects are exactly similar, considered as they are in themselves. The perfectly natural properties are the most fundamental properties of the world, upon which the nature of the world depends.
  2. In this dissertation I develop a theory of intrinsicality, naturalness, and duplication3 and explore their philosophical applications. Chapter 1 introduces the notions, gives a preliminary survey of some proposed conceptual connections between the notions, and sketches some of their proposed applications. Chapter 2 gives my background assumptions and introduces notational conventions.
  3. In chapter 3 I present a theory of naturalness. Although I take ‘natural’ as a primitive, I clarify this notion by distinguishing and explicating various conceptions of naturalness.
  4. In chapter 4 I give a theory of various notions related to naturalness, especially intrinsicality and duplication4. I show that ‘intrinsic’ and ‘duplicate’5 are interdefinable, and then give analyses of these and other notions in terms of naturalness.
  5. If, as I think likely, naturalness cannot be analyzed, then what is the proper response? David Lewis suggests: accept naturalness as a primitive. I am sympathetic to this proposal, but not to the form Lewis gives it: chapter 5 contains an argument against Lewis’s theory of naturalness.
  6. In chapter 6 I reject the idea that naturalness is analyzable in terms of immanent universals6. I focus on the work of D. M. Armstrong. I also criticize Armstrong’s arguments against transcendent universals7.
  7. In chapter 7 I address criticisms of David Lewis’s definition of ‘intrinsic’ offered by Mike Dunn.
  8. In chapter 8 I discuss the possibility of analyzing our three notions. I discuss defining ‘natural’ in terms of supervenience8 and other concepts, and then criticize attempts by Jaegwon Kim and Michael Slote to analyze intrinsicality in terms of “quasi-logical” concepts.
  9. Finally, in chapter 9 I present a new application for the notion of naturalness: the statement of “metrical realism” in the philosophy of space and time.


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