Fourteen newly commissioned essays trace the historical development of the distinction between primary and secondary qualities, which lies at the intersection of issues in metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of perception. Primary and Secondary Qualities focuses on the age of the Scientific Revolution, the locus classicus of the distinction, but begins with chapters on ancient Greek and Scholastic accounts of qualities in an effort to identifyits origins. The remainder of the volume is devoted to philosophical reflections on qualities from the seventeenth century to the present day. Virtually every major figure is represented from Gassendi to Kant, and special attention is paid to Locke, Descartes, and Hume. The essays collected here cover a wide range oftopics, including the foundation for the distinction, the question of whether or not it is metaphysical or merely epistemic, the status of secondary qualities, the nature of sensory representation, the relation between philosophy and science, the status of dispositions, and the semantics of sensible-quality terms.
- Publication Date:
- 07 / 04 / 2011