<philosophy of science, epistemology, ethics> distinction between the features of things. The intrinsic features of a thing are those which it has in and of itself; while its extrinsic features are those which it has only in its relation to something else. Thus, for example, I am intrinsically a human being, but only extrinsically a father. It might reasonably be disputed whether my being male is an intrinsic biological feature or an extrinsic cultural construction. In epistemology, the distinction between primary and secondary qualities points out the difference between the intrinsic and the extrinsic properties of material objects, and in normative ethics, deontologists and consequentialists disagree about whether the moral value of human actions resides in their intrinsic or their extrinsic features. Recommended Reading: Noah M. Lemos, Intrinsic Value: Concept and Warrant (Cambridge, 1994) and Michael J. Zimmerman, The Nature of Intrinsic Value (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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