Van Cleve and Putnam on Kant’s View of Secondary Qualities

Renee J. Smith
University of Colorado, Boulder
Renee J. Smith
Coastal Carolina University
James Van Cleve provides an analysis of Kant’s view of secondary qualities in response to Hilary Putnam’s claim that Kant holds that “all qualities are secondary qualities.” Van Cleve proposes that we modify the thesis Putnam attributes to Kant in order to arrive at an explanation of both primary and secondary qualities that Kant would endorse. I argue that there is a serious flaw in Van Cleve’s characterization of Putnam’s thesis, namely that there is no significant difference between Putnam’s reading of Kant and Van Cleve’s, and I attribute the problem to equivocal senses of ‘primary qualities’, ‘secondary qualities’ and ‘mind dependent’.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0093-4240  
DOI 10.5840/gfpj200627116
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