Intrinsicality and determinacy

Philosophical Studies 179 (11):3349-3364 (2022)
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Comparativism maintains that physical quantities are ultimately relational in character. For example, an object’s having 1 kg rest mass depends on the relations it stands in to other objects in the universe. Comparativism, its advocates allege, reveals that quantities are not metaphysically mysterious: Quantities are reducible to familiar relations holding among physical objects. Modal accounts of intrinsicality—such as Lewis’s duplication account or Langton and Lewis’s combinatorial account—are popular accounts preserving many of our core intuitions regarding which properties are intrinsic. I argue that to endorse both comparativism and a modal account of intrinsicality, we must reject the plausible thesis that determinable properties are instantiated solely in virtue of their determinates. I call this ‘the determinacy tension’ and I suggest approaches for dissolving it.



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Erica Shumener
Syracuse University

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References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.
New Work for a Theory of Universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1997 - Cambridge University Press.
Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction.Gideon Rosen - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-135.
Guide to Ground.Kit Fine - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37--80.

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