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intrinsic/extrinsic properties


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The intuitive idea is that the intrinsic properties of a thing are those that make it what it is, regardless of its surroundings or its relation to other things. They are therefore properties it could continue to have even if it did not affect other things as it does, for example by being in a world with different laws of nature. They are even compatible with ‘loneliness’, or it being the only thing in its universe. The puzzle is to establish what properties these may be, given that all the properties we know about are ones to which we are directly or indirectly receptive, this then being a matter of the dispositions or powers they have, which in turn depend on the laws of nature and perhaps surrounding fields and forces of the world in which they exist.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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