Extrinsic and Intrinsic

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Extrinsic and Intrinsic

 

philosophic categories; when considered interdependently, the extrinsic expresses properties of an object, of a phenomenon as a whole, and the means of its interaction with the environment; the intrinsic expresses the structure of the object itself, of the phenomenon itself: its composition, structure, and the relations between its elements. In the process of cognition the extrinsic is usually that which manifests itself directly, that is, the properties and relations of the object which are directly and immediately fixed by the sensory organs and the simplest forms of mental activity. As a rule, the intrinsic is concealed from direct observation. In this sense, the movement of cognition is a movement from the extrinsic to the intrinsic.

In the history of cognition the problem of the extrinsic and intrinsic appears in two forms. First, it is a question of the objective nature of the intrinsic and whether the transition of thought from the extrinsic to the intrinsic has any grounds. Agnosticism considers such a transition arbitrary and holds that the intrinsic itself is merely a purely mental construction. The most consistent refutation of this point of view is provided by dialectical materialism, which holds that the objectivity of the interdependence of the extrinsic and intrinsic is confirmed on the basis of the criterion of practice. Second, the question of the extrinsic and intrinsic arises in explaining the sources of development. Conceptions similar to Lamarckism and its contemporary varieties, so-called creative Darwinism, see the source of development of an organism in its environment, that is, in the extrinsic, in relation to which the intrinsic is a derivative. In contrast to this view, the dialectical conception of development considers this source to be in the intrinsic and in the specificity of its interaction with the extrinsic.

REFERENCE

Spirkin, A. G. Kurs marksistskoi filosofii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1966. Chapter 6.

A. P. OGURTSOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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