Qualities and Sensory Perception

Philippe Hamou

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Early Modern Europe

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199556137
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Qualities and Sensory Perception

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  • History of Western Philosophy
  • Epistemology


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This article describes the conception of sensory perception during the early modern period. It discusses David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature where he contrasted the ancient metaphysics of substantial forms and occult qualities with the metaphysics of the Moderns. The article argues that Hume was fundamentally correct and that the doctrine of secondary qualities is indeed a distinctively modern doctrine that captures something of the very essence of the new philosophical age.

Keywords: sensory perception; early modern period; David Hume; Treatise of Human Nature; metaphysics; secondary qualities

Article.  10591 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Epistemology

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