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Primary and Secondary QualitiesThe Historical and Ongoing Debate$
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Lawrence Nolan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199556151

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199556151.001.0001

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Scholastic Qualities, Primary and Secondary

Scholastic Qualities, Primary and Secondary

(p.41) 2 Scholastic Qualities, Primary and Secondary
Primary and Secondary Qualities

Robert Pasnau (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The distinction between two kinds of qualities, primary and secondary, is one of the core doctrines of Scholastic natural philosophy. Far from being an invention of the modern era, it is something to which any student of Aristotelian philosophy—which is to say anyone who studied philosophy in a European university up until the eighteenth century—would have been introduced at a tender age. The distinction is, moreover, every bit as important for Scholastic philosophers as it would become in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, since the primary qualities, on the Aristotelian tradition, are the fundamental causal agents of the natural world.

Keywords:   Medieval philosophy, color, secondary qualities, primary qualities, resemblance, perception, Aristotle, projection, explanation

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