Intensive and Extensive Quantities


Quantities are properties and relations which exhibit "quantitative structure". For physical quantities, this structure can impact the non-quantitative world in different ways. In this paper I introduce and motivate a novel distinction between quantities based on the way their quantitative structure constrains the possible mereological structure of their instances. Specifically, I identify a category of “properly extensive” quantities, which are a proper sub-class of the additive or extensive quantities. I present and motivate this distinction using two case studies of successful physical measurements.. I argue that the best explanation for the success of the length measurement requires us to adopt a notion of proper extensiveness, which is distinct from mere additivity, which is exhibited by inertial mass. I further discuss the consequences of this distinction, sketching an application of proper extensiveness for the project of producing a non-mathematical and non-metrical reductive metaphysics of quantity.



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Zee R. Perry
New York University, Shanghai

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Calculus as Geometry.Frank Arntenius & Cian Dorr - 2012 - In Frank Arntzenius (ed.), Space, Time and Stuff. Oxford University Press.
Quantities.John Bigelow, Robert Pargetter & D. M. Armstrong - 1988 - Philosophical Studies 54 (3):287 - 304.

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