Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Properties
Marshall (Dan) & Weatherson (Brian)
Source: Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2002-18
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. We have some of our properties purely in virtue of the way we are. (Our mass is an example.) We have other properties in virtue of the way we interact with the world. (Our weight is an example.) The former are the intrinsic properties, the latter are the extrinsic properties.
  2. This seems to be an intuitive enough distinction to grasp, and hence the intuitive distinction has made its way into many discussions in philosophy, including discussions in ethics, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of physics.
  3. Unfortunately, when we look more closely at the intuitive distinction, we find reason to suspect that it conflates a few related distinctions, and that each of these distinctions is somewhat resistant to analysis.

  1. Introduction
    → 1.1 Philosophical Importance
    → 1.2 Global and Local
    → 1.3 Relations
  2. Notions of Intrinsicality
    → 2.1 Relational vs. Non-Relational Properties
    → 2.2 Local vs. Non-Local Properties
    → 2.3 Interior vs. Exterior Properties
    → 2.4 Duplication1 Preserving vs. Duplication2 Non-Preserving Properties
    → 2.5 Which is the real distinction?
  3. Attempts at Analysis
    → 3.1 Broadly Logical Theories
    → 3.2 Perfect Naturalness Theories
    → 3.3 Non-Disjunctivity Theories
    → 3.4 Contractionist Theories
    → 3.5 Grounding Theories


First published Sat Jan 5, 2002; substantive revision Thu Jan 11, 2018

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