Edited by Carrie Figdor (University of Iowa)
|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 1997, Humberstone 1996, Yablo 1999, Denby 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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