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secondary quality

noun, Epistemology.
one of the qualities attributed by the mind to an object perceived, such as color, temperature, or taste.
Compare primary quality.
Origin of secondary quality
First recorded in 1690-1700 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for secondary qualities
Historical Examples
  • The ideas of colours, sounds, and other secondary qualities are excluded.

  • Locke met this difficulty by a theory of primary and secondary qualities.

    The Concept of Nature Alfred North Whitehead
  • On this stage of thought things act on each other as well as on us by means of their secondary qualities.

  • At night particularly one feels the Piranesi grandeur, but also the Callot picturesqueness which are secondary qualities of Rome.

    The Spirit of Rome Vernon Lee
  • Hylas has now arrived at the distinction between primary and secondary qualities.

    The Approach to Philosophy Ralph Barton Perry
  • The paradoxical character of this doctrine is accentuated by Galileos distinction between primary and secondary qualities.

  • Matter, whether in its primary or secondary qualities, is certainly not the sort of thing the vulgar imagine it to be.

    Thoughts on Man William Godwin
  • Plato also approaches very near to our doctrine of the primary and secondary qualities of matter.

    Timaeus Plato
  • Consistently with this, Brown rejects Reid's distinction between the primary and secondary qualities.

  • I allude to the division, which has been formed of the primary and secondary qualities of matter.

British Dictionary definitions for secondary qualities

secondary qualities

plural noun
(in empiricist philosophy) those properties of objects that are explained in terms of the primary properties of their parts, such as heat in terms of the motion of molecules
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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