Defining and Identifying Qualities

Austen Clark

in Sensory Qualities

Published in print October 1996 | ISBN: 9780198236801
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679360 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy

Defining and Identifying Qualities

Show Summary Details


Particular qualities correspond to places within the sensory order. The identity is easy to see in the case of colours. Two colours differ if they differ in hue, saturation, or brightness. Sameness in all three yields a single colour. If hue, saturation, and brightness are dimensions of the psychological colour solid, particular colour quality will be in a particular place within that solid. Just as criteria for counting distinct places are imprecise, so are criteria for counting distinct sensory qualities. The most precise specification for the quality would count it distinct from any quality with which it is globally discriminable. This strict criterion identifies distinct sensory qualities with distinct points in the sensory order. More commonly, one counts two items as presenting the same sensory quality if they are pairwise indiscriminable, or if they match. Even if the facts would allow one to identify sensory qualities with classes of stimuli, logic would forbid it. Any features resting entirely on inter-stimulus similarities are geometrically intrinsic features of the quality space.

Keywords: sensory order; identity; sameness; sensory qualities; places; stimuli; colour quality; psychological colour solid; quality space

Chapter.  13530 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.