Sensory Qualities, Sensible Qualities, Sensational Qualities

Alex Byrne

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780199262618
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Sensory Qualities, Sensible Qualities, Sensational Qualities


In theorizing about perception philosophers have often multiplied qualities. To perceptible qualities of external objects, like colours and shapes (‘sensible’ qualities), have been added qualities of experiences (‘sensory’ qualities) or of sense-data (‘sensational’ qualities). This article starts with sensory qualities. The phrase ‘sensory quality’ is not much in use these days, having lost out to ‘phenomenal character’, ‘phenomenal property’, ‘qualitative character’, or ‘quale’. But whatever sensory qualities are called, pinning them down is no easy matter.

Keywords: sensory qualities; sensible qualities; sensational qualities; perception philosophy; external objects; qualitative character

Article.  6170 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Mind

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