Intrinsicality and Entanglement

Mind 131 (521):35-58 (2022)
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Abstract

I explore the relationship between a prominent analysis of intrinsic properties, due to Langton and Lewis, and the phenomenon of quantum entanglement. As I argue, the analysis faces a puzzle. The full analysis classifies certain properties of entangled particles as intrinsic. But when combined with an extremely plausible assumption about duplication, the main part of the analysis classifies those properties as non-intrinsic instead. I conclude that much of Lewis’s metaphysics is in trouble: Lewis based many of his metaphysical views—his thesis of Humean supervenience, for instance, and his account of recombination—on an analysis of intrinsicality which does not sit well with quantum phenomena.

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Isaac Wilhelm
National University of Singapore

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