Quality (philosophy)
   HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

A quality is an attribute or a
property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the right to Consumables, consume, alte ...
characteristic of an
object Object may refer to: General meanings * Object (philosophy) An object is a philosophy, philosophical term often used in contrast to the term ''Subject (philosophy), subject''. A subject is an observer and an object is a thing observed. For mo ...
in
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. Some ...
.Cargile, J. (1995). qualities. in Honderich, T. (Ed.) (2005). ''The Oxford Companion to Philosophy'' (2nd ed.). Oxford In
contemporary philosophy Contemporary philosophy is the present period in the history of Western philosophy beginning at the early 20th century with the increasing professionalization of the discipline and the rise of Analytic philosophy, analytic and continental philosop ...
the
idea In Usage (language), common usage and in philosophy, ideas are the results of thought. Also in philosophy, ideas can also be mental representational images of some object (philosophy), object. Many philosophers have considered ideas to be a funda ...
of qualities, and especially how to distinguish certain kinds of qualities from one another, remains controversial.


Background

Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...
analyzed qualities in his
logic Logic is the study of correct reasoning. It includes both Mathematical logic, formal and informal logic. Formal logic is the science of Validity (logic), deductively valid inferences or of logical truths. It is a formal science investigating h ...
al work, the Categories. To him, qualities are hylomorphically–formal attributes, such as "white" or "grammatical". Categories of ''state'', such as "shod" and "armed" are also non– essential qualities ''( katà symbebekós)''. line 70. Aristotle observed: "one and the selfsame substance, while retaining its identity, is yet capable of admitting contrary qualities. The same individual person is at one time white, at another black, at one time warm, at another cold, at one time good, at another bad. This capacity is found nowhere else... it is the peculiar mark of substance that it should be capable of admitting contrary qualities; for it is by itself changing that it does so". line 254. Aristotle described four types of qualitative opposites: ''correlatives,'' ''contraries,'' ''privatives'' and ''positives.'' line 28.
John Locke John Locke (; 29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704) was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the "father of liberalism ...
presented a distinction between primary and secondary qualities in ''
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding ''An Essay Concerning Human Understanding'' is a work by John Locke concerning the foundation of human knowledge and understanding. It first appeared in 1689 (although dated 1690) with the printed title ''An Essay Concerning Humane Understand ...
''. For Locke, a quality is an
idea In Usage (language), common usage and in philosophy, ideas are the results of thought. Also in philosophy, ideas can also be mental representational images of some object (philosophy), object. Many philosophers have considered ideas to be a funda ...
of a
sensation Sensation (psychology) refers to the processing of the senses by the sensory system. Sensation or sensations may also refer to: In arts and entertainment In literature *Sensation (fiction), a fiction writing mode *Sensation novel, a British ...
or a
perception Perception () is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment. All perception involves signals that go through the nervous syste ...
. Locke further asserts that qualities can be divided in two kinds: primary and secondary qualities. Primary qualities are
intrinsic In science Science is a systematic endeavor that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe. Science may be as old as the human species, and ...
to an object—a thing or a person—whereas secondary qualities are dependent on the interpretation of the subjective mode and the context of appearance. For example, a
shadow A shadow is a dark area where light from a light source is blocked by an opaque object. It occupies all of the three-dimensional volume behind an object with light in front of it. The cross section of a shadow is a two- dimensional silhouet ...
is a secondary quality. It requires a certain
light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation that can be visual perception, perceived by the human eye. Visible light is usually defined as having wavelengths in the range of 400–700 nanometres (nm), corresponding to frequency, fr ...
ing to be applied to an object. For another example, consider the
mass Mass is an Intrinsic and extrinsic properties, intrinsic property of a body. It was traditionally believed to be related to the physical quantity, quantity of matter in a Physical object, physical body, until the discovery of the atom and par ...
of an object.
Weight In science and engineering, the weight of an object is the force acting on the object due to gravity. Some standard textbooks define weight as a Euclidean vector, vector quantity, the gravitational force acting on the object. Others define weigh ...
is a secondary quality since, as a
measurement Measurement is the quantification (science), quantification of variable and attribute (research), attributes of an object or event, which can be used to compare with other objects or events. In other words, measurement is a process of determi ...
of gravitational
force In physics, a force is an influence that can change the motion of an Physical object, object. A force can cause an object with mass to change its velocity (e.g. moving from a Newton's first law, state of rest), i.e., to accelerate. Force can ...
, it varies depending on the
distance Distance is a numerical or occasionally qualitative measurement of how far apart objects or points are. In physics or everyday usage, distance may refer to a physical length or an estimation based on other criteria (e.g. "two counties over"). ...
to, and mass of, very massive objects like the
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. While large list of largest lakes and seas in the Solar System, volumes of water can be found throughout the Solar System, only water distributi ...
, as described by Newton's law. It could be thought that mass is intrinsic to an object, and thus a primary quality. In the context of relativity, the idea of mass quantifying an amount of
matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimately composed of atoms, which are made up of interacting subatomic partic ...
requires caution. The
relativistic mass The word "mass" has two meanings in special relativity: ''invariant mass'' (also called rest mass) is an invariant quantity which is the same for all Observer (special relativity), observers in all reference frames, while the relativistic mass is ...
varies for variously traveling observers; then there is the idea of rest mass or
invariant mass The invariant mass, rest mass, intrinsic mass, proper mass, or in the case of bound systems simply mass, is the portion of the total mass of an physical body, object or physical system, system of objects that is independent of the overall motion ...
(the magnitude of the energy-momentum 4-vector), basically a system's relativistic mass in its own rest frame of reference. (Note, however, that Aristotle drew a distinction between qualification and quantification; a thing's quality can vary in degree). Only an
isolated system In Outline of physical science, physical science, an isolated system is either of the following: # a physical system so far removed from other systems that it does not interact with them. # a thermodynamic system enclosed by rigid immovable T ...
's invariant mass in relativity is the same as observed in variously traveling observers' rest frames, and conserved in reactions; moreover, a system's heat, including the energy of its massless particles such as photons, contributes to the system's invariant mass (indeed, otherwise even an isolated system's invariant mass would not be conserved in reactions); even a cloud of photons traveling in different directions has, as a whole, a rest frame and a rest energy equivalent to invariant mass. Thus, to treat rest mass (and by that stroke, rest energy) as an intrinsic quality distinctive of physical matter raises the question of what is to count as physical matter. Little of the invariant mass of a
hadron In particle physics, a hadron (; grc, ἁδρός, hadrós; "stout, thick") is a composite particle, composite subatomic particle made of two or more quarks bound state, held together by the strong interaction. They are analogous to molecules tha ...
(for example a
proton A proton is a stable subatomic particle, symbol , H+, or 1H+ with a positive electric charge of +1 ''e'' elementary charge. Its mass is slightly less than that of a neutron and 1,836 times the mass of an electron (the proton–electron mass ...
or a
neutron The neutron is a subatomic particle, symbol or , which has a neutral (not positive or negative) charge, and a mass slightly greater than that of a proton. Protons and neutrons constitute the atomic nucleus, nuclei of atoms. Since protons and ...
) consists in the invariant masses of its component
quark A quark () is a type of elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Quarks combine to form composite particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are protons and neutrons, the components of atomic nucleus, atomic nuclei ...
s (in a proton, around 1%) apart from their
gluon A gluon ( ) is an elementary particle that acts as the exchange particle (or gauge boson) for the strong interaction, strong force between quarks. It is analogous to the exchange of photons in the electromagnetic force between two charged partic ...
particle fields; most of it consists in the quantum chromodynamics binding energy of the (massless) gluons (see Quark#Mass).


Conceptions of quality as metaphysical and ontological

Philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. Some ...
and
common sense ''Common Sense'' is a 47-page pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–1776 advocating independence from Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain to people in the Thirteen Colonies. Writing in clear and persuasive prose, Paine collected variou ...
tend to see qualities as related either to subjective
feeling Feelings are Subjectivity, subjective self-contained phenomenal experiences. According to the ''APA Dictionary of Psychology'', a feeling is "a self-contained phenomenal experience"; and feelings are "subjective, evaluative, and independent of t ...
s or to objective
fact A fact is a datum about one or more aspects of a circumstance, which, if accepted as true and proven true, allows a logical conclusion to be reached on a True and false, true–false evaluation. Standard reference works are often used to Fact- ...
s. The qualities of something depends on the criteria being applied to and, from a
neutral point of view Neutral point of view may refer to: * Objectivity (science), the concept of a position formed without incorporating one's own prejudice * Neutrality (philosophy), to maintain neutrality at all times {{Disambig ...
, do not determine its value (the philosophical value as well as
economic value In economics, economic value is a measure of the benefit provided by a goods, good or service (economics), service to an Agent (economics), economic agent. It is generally measured through units of currency, and the interpretation is therefore ...
). Subjectively, something might be
good In most contexts, the concept of good denotes the conduct that should be preferred when posed with a choice between possible actions. Good is generally considered to be the opposite of evil and is of interest in the study of ethics, morality, ph ...
because it is useful, because it is beautiful, or simply because it exists. Determining or finding qualities therefore involves
understanding Understanding is a psychological process related to an abstract or physical object, such as a person, situation, or message whereby one is able to use concepts to model that object. Understanding is a relation between the knower and an obje ...
what is useful, what is beautiful and what exists. Commonly, ''quality'' can mean degree of excellence, as in, "a quality product" or "work of average quality". It can also refer to a property of something such as "the addictive quality of
nicotine Nicotine is a natural product, naturally produced alkaloid in the nightshade family of plants (most predominantly in tobacco and ''Duboisia hopwoodii'') and is widely used recreational drug use, recreationally as a stimulant and anxiolytic. As ...
". In his book, ''
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance ''Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values'' is a book by Robert M. Pirsig first published in 1974. It is a work of fictionalized autobiography and is the first of Pirsig's texts in which he explores his concept of Pirs ...
'', Robert M. Pirsig examines concepts of quality in classical and romantic, seeking a Metaphysics of Quality and a reconciliation of those views in terms of non-dualistic
holism Holism () is the idea that various systems (e.g. physical, biological, social) should be viewed as wholes, not merely as a collection of parts. The term "holism" was coined by Jan Smuts in his 1926 book ''Holism and Evolution''."holism, n." OED Onl ...
. Quality (Latin: quality, characteristic, property, condition) has three meanings: a) neutral: the sum of all properties of an object, system or process b) evaluates: the quality of all properties of an object, system or process c) evaluates: the individual values preceding the action and its results With regard to points a) and b), quality is the designation of a perceptible state of systems and their characteristics, which is defined in this state in a certain period of time based on certain properties of the system. Quality could describe a product such as wine and its chemical components and the resulting subjectively assessable taste, as well as the processes of ripening the grape, the production and distribution of the wine, or the process of managing the winery. In the meaning b) one speaks of quality wine or wine with predicate or of excellent management. With reference to c), quality is the sum of the individual (value) attitudes (properties) of a target-oriented individual. Quality is differentiated by "having" or "being". The aim to which qualitative action is directed towards goals or effects also has fundamental effects on the creation of long-term growing cultural capital and thus on the existence of trust values in a cooperating, stable, and in particular democratic society.


See also

*
Similarity (philosophy) In philosophy, similarity or resemblance is a relation between objects that constitutes how much these objects are alike. Similarity comes in degrees: e.g. oranges are more similar to apples than to the moon. It is traditionally seen as an Relation ...


References


External links

*
Quantitative and qualitative change in text Philosophical Research
{{DEFAULTSORT:Quality (Philosophy) Concepts in aesthetics Concepts in ethics Concepts in metaphysics