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Summary Philosophers (and ordinary folk) draw a distinction between the features that a things has in and of itself and those that it has at least partly in virtue of the way the world is. An egg may have a certain mass and be the first egg that a young hen lays in her life. It has the first property just in virtue of how it is, while the second depends on its relation to other eggs (and the hen). The distinction has played a role in such issues as the nature of moral value, of real change, and of ontological dependence (in particular, supervenience). No single analysis has garnered widespread support; the search for one continues alongside related debates about the notions introduced in various analyses, such as that of a pure natural property and of the grounding relation between properties.
Key works Lewis 1983 is the seminal paper in this area; Langton & Lewis 1998 provides further refinements; and various responses, developments or alternatives are discussed in Vallentyne 1997Humberstone 1996Yablo 1999Denby 2006, Figdor 2008, and Marshall 2009.
Introductions Works in this area tend towards the sophisticated and technical once one goes beyond the initial motivating intuitions. While Lewis 1983 and Langton & Lewis 1998 are indispensable and short, they are highly condensed; Francescotti 1999 is a less condensed discussion of many basic analyses and so can serve as an introductory article to current debates. 
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  1. Ralf M. Bader (2010). Review of Vera Hoffmann-Kolss, The Metaphysics of Extrinsic Properties. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (10).
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  2. William A. Bauer (2011). An Argument for the Extrinsic Grounding of Mass. Erkenntnis 74 (1):81-99.
    Several philosophers of science and metaphysicians claim that the dispositional properties of fundamental particles, such as the mass, charge, and spin of electrons, are ungrounded in any further properties. It is assumed by those making this argument that such properties are intrinsic, and thus if they are grounded at all they must be grounded intrinsically. However, this paper advances an argument, with one empirical premise and one metaphysical premise, for the claim that mass is extrinsically grounded and is thus an (...)
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  3. Ross Cameron (2009). Intrinsic and Extrinsic Properties. In Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics. Routledge.
    Consider two of my properties: my mass and my weight. There seems to be an interesting distinction between the reasons for my having these two properties. I have my mass solely in virtue of how I am, whereas I have my weight in virtue of both how I am and how my surroundings are. I have my weight as a result of the gravitational pull exerted by the Earth on a thing having my mass, whereas I have my mass independently (...)
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  4. Ross P. Cameron (2008). Recombination and Intrinsicality. Ratio 21 (1):1–12.
    In this paper I argue that warrant for Lewis' principle of recombination presupposes warrant for a combinatorial analysis of intrinsicality, which in turn presupposes warrant for the principle of recombination. This, I claim, leads to a vicious circularity: warrant for neither doctrine can get off the ground.
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  5. David A. Denby (2010). Intrinsic and Extrinsic Properties: A Reply to Hoffmann-Kolss. Mind 119 (475):773-782.
    In response to Hoffmann-Kolss, I modify my account of the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic properties previously published in this journal. I also strengthen the reason I gave to think my account pins down the distinction uniquely.
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  6. David A. Denby (2006). The Distinction Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Properties. Mind 115 (457):1-17.
    I propose an analysis of the metaphysically important distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic properties, and, in the process, provide a neglected model for the analysis of recalcitrant distinctions generally. First, I recap some difficulties with Kim's well-known (1982) proposal and its recent descendants. Then I define two independence relations among properties and state a ‘quasi-logical’ analysis of the distinction in terms of them. Unusually, my proposal is holistic, but I argue that it is in a certain kind of equilibrium and (...)
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  7. J. Michael Dunn (1990). Relevant Predication 2: Intrinsic Properties and Internal Relations. Philosophical Studies 60 (3):177-206.
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  8. M. Eddon (2014). Intrinsic Explanations and Numerical Representations. In Francescotti (ed.), Companion to Intrinsic Properties. 271-290.
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  9. M. Eddon (2011). Intrinsicality and Hyperintensionality. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (2):314-336.
    The standard counterexamples to David Lewis’s account of intrinsicality involve two sorts of properties: identity properties and necessary properties. Proponents of the account have attempted to deflect these counterexamples in a number of ways. This paper argues that none of these moves are legitimate. Furthermore, this paper argues that no account along the lines of Lewis’s can succeed, for an adequate account of intrinsicality must be sensitive to hyperintensional distinctions among properties.
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  10. Michael Esfeld (2003). Do Relations Require Underlying Intrinsic Properties? A Physical Argument for a Metaphysics of Relations. Metaphysica: International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics 4 (1):5-25.
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  11. Carrie Figdor (2014). What's the Use of an Intrinsic Property? In Robert Francescotti (ed.), Companion to Intrinsic Properties. De Gruyter.
    Work on the intrinsic/extrinsic distinction is often motivated by its use in other areas, such as intrinsic value, real vs. Cambridge change, supervenience and other topics. With the exception of Figdor 2008, philosophers have sought to articulate a global distinction -- a distinction between kinds of properties, rather than ways in which individuals have properties. I argue that global I/E distinctions are unable to do the work that allegedly motivates them, focusing on the case of intrinsic value.
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  12. Carrie Figdor (2008). Intrinsically/Extrinsically. Journal of Philosophy 105 (11):691-718.
    I separate two intrinsic/extrinsic distinctions that are often conflated: one between properties (the intrinsic/extrinsic, or I/E, distinction) and one between the ways in which properties are had by individuals (the intrinsically/extrinsically, or I-ly/E-ly, distinction). I propose an analysis of the I-ly/E-ly distinction and its relation to the I/E distinction that explains, inter alia, the puzzle of cross-classification: how it can be, for example, that the property of being square can be classified as an intrinsic property and yet individuals can be (...)
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  13. Robert Francescotti (2012). Understanding the Intrinsic/Extrinsic Distinction. Metascience 21 (1):91-94.
    Understanding the intrinsic/extrinsic distinction Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9549-x Authors Robert Francescotti, Department of Philosophy, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-6044, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
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  14. Robert Francescotti (1999). How to Define Intrinsic Properties. Noûs 33 (4):590-609.
    An intrinsic property, according to one important account, is a property that is had by all of one's duplicates. Instead, one might choose to characterize intrinsic properties as those that can be had in the absence of all distinct individuals. After reviewing the problems with these earlier accounts, the author presents a less problematic analysis. The goal is to clarify the rough idea that an intrinsic property is a special sort of non-relational property; having the property does not consist in (...)
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  15. Robert Francescotti (1999). Mere Cambridge Properties. American Philosophical Quarterly 36 (4):295-308.
    The predicates 'is outgrown by Theaetetus,' 'is 300 miles west of a lemur,' and 'is such that 9 is odd' denote properties, but there is a sense in which these properties are not genuine features of the objects that have them. The fact that we find these mere-Cambridge properties odd has something to do with their relational character. But relationality in itself is not an adequate criterion for property-genuineness for there are many relational properties that do not qualify as mere-Cambridge. (...)
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  16. Roger Harris (2010). Do Material Things Have Intrinsic Properties? Metaphysica 11 (2):105-117.
    Possession of any actual physical property depends on the ambient conditions for its bearers, irrespective of one's particular theory of dispositions. If 'self-sufficiency' makes a property intrinsic, then, because of this dependence, things in the actual world cannot have an intrinsic physical resemblance to one another or to things in other possible worlds. Criteria for the self-sufficiency of intrinsic properties based on, or implying indifference to both 'loneliness' and 'accompaniment' entail that no self-sufficient property can require its bearers to be (...)
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  17. Roger Harris (2010). How to Define Extrinsic Properties. Axiomathes 20 (4):461-478.
    There are, broadly, three sorts of account of intrinsicality: ‘self-sufficiency’, ‘essentiality’ and ‘pure qualitativeness’. I argue for the last of these, and urge that we take intrinsic properties of concrete objects to be all and only those shared by actual or possible duplicates, which only differ extrinsically. This approach gains support from Francescotti’s approach: defining ‘intrinsic’ in contradistinction to extrinsic properties which ‘consist in’ relations which rule out intrinsicality. I answer Weatherson’s criticisms of Francescotti, but, to answer criticisms of my (...)
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  18. John Hawthorne (2001). Intrinsic Properties and Natural Relations. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (2):399-403.
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  19. V. Hoffmann-Kolss (2010). Denby on the Distinction Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Properties. Mind 119 (475):763-772.
    In this paper, I raise an objection to the criterion of the intrinsic/extrinsic distinction proposed by David Denby in his article ‘The Distinction between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Properties’ (2006). I show that the extrinsic property of being either red and lonely or green cannot adequately be accounted for by Denby’s criterion and argue that this difficulty points to a general problem inherent to Denby’s account.
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  20. Vera Hoffmann-Kolss (2014). Is the Intrinsic/Extrinsic Distinction Hyperintensional? In Robert Francescotti (ed.), Companion to Intrinsic Properties. de Gruyter. 157-173.
    Several authors have recently claimed that the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic properties is hyperintensional, i.e., that there are cointensional properties P and Q, such that P is intrinsic, while Q is extrinsic. In this paper, I aim to defend the classical view that whenever P and Q are cointensional properties, then P and Q are either both intrinsic or both extrinsic. I first argue that the standard characterization of the intrinsic/extrinsic distinction involves dependence claims: intrinsic properties are those properties (...)
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  21. Vera Hoffmann-Kolss (2010). The Metaphysics of Extrinsic Properties. Ontos-Verlag.
    This book aims to develop a philosophical theory of extrinsic properties – of properties whose instantiation by an object does not only depend on what the object itself is like, but also on features of its environment. Various accounts of the intrinsic/extrinsic distinction are analysed in detail, and it is argued that the most promising approach to defining this distinction is to consider extrinsic properties as a particular type of relational property. Moreover, it is shown that two key notions in (...)
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  22. I. L. Humberstone (1996). Intrinsic/Extrinsic. Synthese 108 (2):205-267.
    Several intrinsic/extrinsic distinctions amongst properties, current in the literature, are discussed and contrasted. The proponents of such distinctions tend to present them as competing, but it is suggested here that at least three of the relevant distinctions (including here that between non-relational and relational properties) arise out of separate perfectly legitimate intuitive considerations: though of course different proposed explications of the informal distinctions involved in any one case may well conflict. Special attention is paid to the question of whether a (...)
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  23. Michael Jacovides (2000). Cambridge Changes of Color. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 81 (2):142-164.
    Locke’s porphyry argument at 2.8.19 of the Essay has not been properly appreciated. On my reconstruction, Locke argues from the premise that porphyry undergoes a mere Cambridge change of color in different lighting conditions to the conclusion that porphyry’s colors do not belong to it as it is in itself. I argue that his argument is not quite sound, but it would be if Locke chose a different stone, alexandrite. Examining his argument teaches us something about the relation between explanatory (...)
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  24. Rae Langton & David Lewis (2001). Marshall and Parsons on 'Intrinsic'. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (2):353-355.
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  25. Rae Langton & David Lewis (1998). Defining 'Intrinsic'. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (2):333-345.
    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 (...)
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  26. David Lewis (2001). Redefining 'Intrinsic'. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (2):381-398.
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  27. David Lewis (1983). Extrinsic Properties. Philosophical Studies 44 (2):197-200.
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  28. David Lewis & Rae Langton (2002). Comment définir « intrinsèque ». Revue de Métaphysique Et de Morale 4 (4):511-527.
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  29. Dan Marshall (2013). Intrinsicality and Grounding. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1).
    A number of philosophers have recently claimed that intrinsicality can be analysed in terms of the metaphysical notion of grounding. Since grounding is a hyperintensional notion, accounts of intrinsicality in terms of grounding, unlike most other accounts, promise to be able to discriminate between necessarily coextensive properties that differ in whether they are intrinsic. They therefore promise to be compatible with popular metaphysical theories that posit necessary entities and necessary connections between wholly distinct entities, on which it is plausible that (...)
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  30. Dan Marshall (2013). Analyses of Intrinsicality Without Naturalness. Philosophy Compass 8 (2):186-197.
    Over the last thirty years there have been a number of attempts to analyse the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic properties. This article discusses three leading attempts to analyse this distinction that don’t appeal to the notion of nat-uralness: the duplication analysis endorsed by G. E. Moore and David Lewis, Peter Vallentyne’s analysis in terms of contractions of possible worlds, and the analysis of Gene Witmer, William Butchard and Kelly Trogdon in terms of grounding.
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  31. Dan Marshall (2012). Analyses of Intrinsicality in Terms of Naturalness. Philosophy Compass 7 (8):531-542.
    Over the last thirty years there have been a number of attempts to analyse the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic properties in terms of the facts about naturalness. This article discusses the three most influential of these attempts, each of which involve David Lewis. These are Lewis's 1983 analysis, his 1986 analysis, and his joint 1998 analysis with Rae Langton.
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  32. Dan Marshall (2009). Can 'Intrinsic' Be Defined Using Only Broadly Logical Notions? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (3):646-672.
    An intrinsic property is roughly a property things have in virtue of how they are, as opposed to how they are related to things outside of them. This paper argues that it is not possible to give a definition of 'intrinsic' that involves only logical, modal and mereological notions, and does not depend on any special assumptions about either properties or possible worlds.
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  33. Dan Marshall, Yablo's Account of Intrinsicality.
    An intrinsic property is roughly a property something has in virtue of how it is, as opposed to how it is related to other things. More carefully, the property of being F is intrinsic iff, necessarily, for any x that is F , x is F in virtue of how it is, as opposed to how it is related to wholly distinct things, or how wholly distinct things are. An extrinsic property, on the other hand, is any property that is (...)
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  34. Dan Marshall & Josh Parsons (2001). Langton and Lewis on 'Intrinsic'. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (2):347-351.
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  35. Josh Parsons, Intrinsic Value and Intrinsic Properties.
    It’s now commonplace — since Korsgaard (1996) — in ethical theory to distinguish between two distinctions: on the one hand, the distinction between value an object has in virtue of its intrinsic properties vs. the value it has in virtue of all its properties, intrinsic or extrinsic; and on the other hand, the distinction between the value has an object as an end, vs. the value it has as a means to something else. I’ll call the former distinction the distinction (...)
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  36. Theodore Sider (2001). Maximality and Intrinsic Properties. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (2):357 - 364.
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  37. Theodore Sider (1996). Intrinsic Properties. Philosophical Studies 83 (1):1 - 27.
    An intrinsic property, as David Lewis puts it, is a property "which things have in virtue of the way they themselves are", as opposed to an extrinsic property, which things have "in virtue of their relations or lack of relations to other things".1 Having long hair is an intrinsic property; having a long-haired brother is not. Intuitive as this notion is (and valuable in doing philosophy, I might add), it seems to resist analysis. Analysis, that is, to “quasi-logical” notions such (...)
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  38. Theodore Sider (1993). Naturalness, Intrinsicality, and Duplication. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts
    This dissertation explores the concepts of naturalness, intrinsicality, and duplication. An intrinsic property is had by an object purely in virtue of the way that object is considered in itself. Duplicate 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. In this dissertation I develop a theory of intrinsicality, naturalness, and duplication and explore their philosophical applications. Chapter 1 introduces (...)
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  39. Alexander Skiles (forthcoming). Primitivism About Intrinsicality. In Robert Francescotti (ed.), Companion to Intrinsic Properties. De Gruyter.
  40. Alexander Skiles (2009). Trogdon on Monism and Intrinsicality. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (1):149 – 154.
    Kelly Trogdon [2009] argues that priority monism—here, the view that only the world as a whole has fundamental properties—conflicts with the best extant accounts of intrinsicality. He then proposes an alternative account that is designed to be not only compatible with this view, but also independently plausible. But his account conflicts with priority monism as well, and incorrectly classifies various non-intrinsic properties.
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  41. Bradford Skow (2007). Are Shapes Intrinsic? Philosophical Studies 133 (1):111 - 130.
    It is widely believed that shapes are intrinsic properties. But this claim is hard to defend. I survey all known theories of shape properties, and argue that each theory is either incompatible with the claim that shapes are intrinsic, or can be shown to be false.
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  42. Kelly Trogdon (2010). Intrinsicality for Monists (and Pluralists). Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):555-558.
    Two competing views in sparse ontology are monism and pluralism. In Trogdon 2009 I propose an account of intrinsicality that I argue is both compatible with monism and pluralism and independently plausible. Skiles 2009 argues that my account fails on both fronts. In this note I respond to his two objections.
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  43. Kelly Trogdon (2009). Monism and Intrinsicality. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (1):127 – 148.
    Central to the programme of sparse ontology is a hierarchical view of reality; the basic entities form the sparse structure of being, while the derivative entities form the abundant superstructure. Priority pluralism and priority monism are both theses of sparse ontology. Roughly speaking, the priority pluralist claims that wholes and their properties ontologically depend on parts and their properties, while the priority monist claims that it goes the other way around. In this paper I focus on Ted Sider's recent argument (...)
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  44. Peter Vallentyne (1997). Intrinsic Properties Defined. Philosophical Studies 88 (2): 209-219.
    Intuitively, a property is intrinsic just in case a thing’s having it (at a time) depends only on what that thing is like (at that time), and not on what any wholly distinct contingent object (or wholly distinct time) is like. A property is extrinsic just in case it is non-intrinsic. Redness and squareness are intrinsic properties. Being next to a red object is extrinsic.
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  45. Brian Weatherson (2006). Intrinsic Vs. Extrinsic Properties. In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2006 Edition).
    I have some of my properties purely in virtue of the way I am. (My mass is an example.) I have other properties in virtue of the way I interact with the world. (My weight is an example.) The former are the intrinsic properties, the latter are the extrinsic properties. This seems to be an intuitive enough distinction to grasp, and hence the intuitive distinction has made its way into many discussions in ethics, philosophy of mind, metaphysics and even epistemology. (...)
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  46. Brian Weatherson (2001). Intrinsic Properties and Combinatorial Principles. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (2):365-380.
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  47. J. Robert G. Williams (2013). Part‐Intrinsicality. Noûs 47 (3):431-452.
    In some sense, survival seems to be an intrinsic matter. Whether or not you survive some event seems to depend on what goes on with you yourself —what happens in the environment shouldn’t make a difference. Likewise, being a person at a time seems intrinsic. The principle that survival seems intrinsic is one factor which makes personal fission puzzles so awkward. Fission scenarios present cases where if survival is an intrinsic matter, it appears that an individual could survive twice over. (...)
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  48. Neil Williams, Intrinsic Powers.
    – Common to most realist accounts of powers is the claim that they are intrinsic properties. Most arguments presented in defence of the intrinsicality thesis have as their targets reductive treatments of powers that conceive of powers as relations between the object described as possessing the power and either some previous manifestation event or the laws of nature. However, even if these arguments are successful, they fail to establish that powers are intrinsic properties; at best they demonstrate the irreducibility of (...)
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  49. D. Gene Witmer, William Butchard & Kelly Trogdon (2005). Intrinsicality Without Naturalness. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2):326–350.
    Rae Langton and David Lewis have proposed an account of "intrinsic property" that makes use of two notions: being independent of accompaniment and being natural. We find the appeal to the first of these promising; the second notion, however, we find mystifying. In this paper we argue that the appeal to naturalness is not acceptable and offer an alternative definition of intrinsicality. The alternative definition makes crucial use of a notion commonly used by philosophers, namely, the notion of one property (...)
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  50. Stephen Yablo (1999). Intrinsicness. Philosophical Topics 26 (1/2):479-505.
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