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Primary and Secondary Qualities – The Historical and Ongoing Debate - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Primary and Secondary Qualities: The Historical and Ongoing Debate

Lawrence Nolan


The central aim of this book is to 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. The volume focuses on the modern period or the age of the Scientific Revolution, the locus classicus of the distinction, but begins with chapters on ancient Greek and medieval Scholastic accounts of qualities in an effort to identify its origins. The next ten chapters offer fresh interpretations of seventeenth‐ and eighteenth‐century treatments of the distinction betwe ... More

Keywords: primary qualities, secondary qualities, sensible qualities, dispositions, representation, resemblance, mechanism, perception, corpuscularianism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780199556151
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199556151.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Lawrence Nolan, editor
California State University
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