Intrinsic Concept – Examples in medicine, philosophy and economics

We explain what something intrinsic is, the origin of the term and examples of its use. Also, its meaning in medicine, philosophy and economics.

The intrinsic is what is immanent or inseparable from a thing or situation.

What is something intrinsic?

By the adjective intrinsic we usually refer to everything that is proper or essential to something, that is, to what is immanent or inseparable from a thing or situation. The use of this word in Spanish comes from the incorporation (as a cultism) of the Latin adverb intrinsecus, which meant “inside” or “inside”. Its opposite concept is extrinsic, which is alien or optional, which is not proper to a thing.

Something intrinsic is a substantial part of that which contains it, that is, its nature makes it proper to something. It can be said, for example, that “the presence of water is intrinsic of our planet ”, since it is the only one in the solar system that has this liquid. Or rather that “the search for salvation is an intrinsic feature of most religions“, that is to say that in almost all the promise of salvation occupies a central place.

The adjectives immanent or inherent are synonymous with intrinsic, as well as proper, essential, characteristic, essential or connatural.

Other uses of the term “intrinsic”

In more specialized contexts, the term intrinsic can refer to more specific and specific things, as in the following cases:

  • In medicine, the intrinsic refers to the tissues that are part of an organ or a specific part of the body, and therefore belong exclusively to it. For example, the intrinsic muscles of the heart are those that make up the heart muscles.
  • In philosophy, there is talk of intrinsic naming to refer to the way of being of an object or entity as regards its nature and not its relationships with other objects or entities.
  • In economics, is known as intrinsic value or core value at the market price of a good or an asset, determined by its nature and its components, tangible or intangible. On occasions, this value can be differentiated from the legal value of the asset, as happened in the past with many currencies, made from valuable metals (such as copper), whose nominal value (the value that represents in the economic system, let us suppose, a cent of dollar) was lower than its intrinsic value (that is, the cost of the copper from which it is made), which caused that instead of using them as a piece of exchange, they were used as raw material to obtain marketable copper.