Intrinsicality and determinacy

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1 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3349-3364
Number of pages16
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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