The Problem of the Sense Qualities

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(1) As regards the difficulty involved in counting sensation qualities, the point of difference between Prof. Titchener and myself is subtle, but philosophically interesting. I think we may both admit that the question cannot be settled by considerations of purely formal logic. In fact, Prof. Titchener's two premisses logically lead to the conclusion that “One sensation a is not the same as another sensation a, although the two are, ex hypothesi indistinguishable.” The question between us is as to the interpretation of the relation “not the same as” in this connection. My contention is that the one and the other sensation differ—not merely numerically or extrinsically—but qualitatively or intrinsically. Since the one sensation a is distinguishable from d, and the other sensation a is not distinguishable from d, it seems to me that this difference between them cannot be referred to merely extrinsic conditions, but must depend on a sensationally qualitative difference in the sensation-qualities themselves.

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JOHNSON, W. The Problem of the Sense Qualities. Nature 55, 295 (1897) doi:10.1038/055295a0

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