Secondary Qualities in the Austro-German Tradition and Beyond

April 21, 2022 - April 23, 2022
Department of Philosophy, Humboldt-University Berlin



Humboldt University, Berlin

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Opening Conference of the DFG Emmy Noether Project ‘A Sensible World’

Secondary Qualities in the Austro-German Tradition and Beyond

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 21-23 April 2022

Arnaud Dewalque (Liège)
Guillaume Fréchette (Geneva)
Laura Gow (Liverpool)
Uriah Kriegel (Rice)
Kevin Mulligan (USI, Lugano)
Martine Nida-Rümelin (Fribourg)
Maria Reicher (Aachen)
Sonja Rinofner-Kreidl (Graz)
Hamid Taieb (HU Berlin)
Mark Textor (KCL)
Maria Van Der Schaar (Leiden)

Our perception shows us a world containing sensory qualities such as colours, sounds, etc.: a sensible world. However, physics teaches us that the world is just a dark and silent heap of particles; colours, sounds, etc., are only derived “secondary” qualities, mere appearances arising from the action of the physical “primary” qualities on our senses. Hence the problem: Do colours, sounds, etc., exist independently of us, and if not, to what extent do their appearances provide us with an adequate knowledge of reality?
    The problem of secondary qualities, which has occupied philosophers since the early modern era, found one of its most systematic treatments in the Austro-German tradition, more precisely in and around the School of Brentano (though it has gone largely unnoticed). Brentano and his followers, among them Husserl, Meinong, and their many students, made novel analyses of all aspects of the problem: they furnished detailed phenomenological descriptions of the content and object of sensation, which they took to be required for sound discussion of the metaphysical and epistemological aspects of the problem; they proposed various original metaphysical solutions to the question of whether sensory qualities exist; and they explored the different epistemological consequences of the metaphysical options at stake, in particular for the reliability of our perception.
    This conference gathers both specialists in the Austro-German tradition and contemporary philosophers working on colours and other sensory qualities, with the aim of reconstructing the Austro-German debates on secondary qualities and undertaking an evaluation of the theoretical value of this material.

    Thursday, 21 April
14:00 Welcome
    Chair: Hamid Taieb (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
14:15-15:30 Laura Gow (University of Liverpool)
    Colour Experience without Experience of Colour
15:45-17:00 Mark Textor (King’s College London)
    So Intense! Lotze and Brentano on the Intensity of Sensation
17:15-18:30 Maria Van Der Schaar (Leiden University)
    Twardowski on Colours

    Friday, 22 April
    Chair: Hannes Ole Matthiessen (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
9:15-10:30 Guillaume Fréchette (University of Geneva)
    Homeless Entities: Meinong on Sensory Objects
11:00-12:15 Maria Reicher (RWTH Aachen University)
    Edith Landmann-Kalischer’s Realism
    [Lunch Break]
    Chair: Marialena Karampatsou (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
14:15-15:30 Hamid Taieb (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
    Reinach on the Essence of Colours
15:45-17:00 Kevin Mulligan (University of Italian Switzerland, Lugano)
    Objective Appearances?

    Saturday, 23 April
    Chair: Christian Barth (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
9:15-10:30 Arnaud Dewalque (University of Liège)
    G.F. Stout on Secondary Qualities
11:00-12:15 Sonja Rinofner-Kreidl (University of Graz)
    Sensual Perception and Evaluative Perception: Questioning the Analogy Thesis
    [Lunch Break]
    Chair: Martin Klein (University of Würzburg)
14:15-15:30 Uriah Kriegel (Rice University)
    Adapting Brentano’s Fitting-Attitude Account of Aesthetic Qualities
15:45-17:00 Martine Nida-Rümelin (University of Fribourg)

Venue: Room 2249a, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Attendance: Attendance possible in person or on Zoom; registration mandatory, please write to [email protected]
Organiser: Hamid Taieb ([email protected])
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April 19, 2022, 9:00am CET

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