Maximality, duplication, and intrinsic value

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In this paper, I develop an argument for the thesis that 'maximality is extrinsic', on which a whole physical object is not a whole of its kind in virtue of its intrinsic properties. Theodore Sider has a number of arguments that depend on his own simple argument that maximality is extrinsic. However, Peter van Inwagen has an argument in defence of his Duplication Principle that, I will argue, can be extended to show that Sider's simple argument fails. However, van Inwagen's argument fails against a more complex, sophisticated argument that maximality is extrinsic. I use van Inwagen's own commitments to various forms of causation and metaphysical possibility to argue that maximality is indeed extrinsic, although not for the mundane reasons that Sider suggests. I then argue that moral properties are extrinsic properties. Two physically identical things can have different moral properties in a physical world. This argument is a counterexample to a classical ethical supervenience idea (often attributed to G.E. Moore) that if there is identity of physical properties in a physical world, then there is identity in moral properties as well. I argue moral value is 'border sensitive' and extrinsic for Kantians, utilitarians, and Aristotelians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-325
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


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