§4. Qualities of Feeling 1)


304. . . . Among phanerons there are certain qualities of feeling, such as the color of magenta, the odor of attar, the sound of a railway whistle, the taste of quinine, the quality of the emotion upon contemplating a fine mathematical demonstration, the quality of feeling of love, etc. I do not mean the sense of actually experiencing these feelings, whether primarily or in any memory or imagination. That is something that involves these qualities as an element of it. But I mean the qualities themselves which, in themselves, are mere may-bes, not necessarily realized. The reader may be inclined to deny that. If so, he has not fully grasped the point that we are not considering what is true, not even what truly appears. I ask him to note that the word red means something when I say that the precession of the equinoxes is no more red than it is blue, and that it means just what it means when I say that aniline red is red. That mere quality, or suchness, is not in itself an occurrence, as seeing a red object is; it is a mere may-be. Its only being consists in the fact that there might be such a peculiar, positive, suchness in a phaneron. When I say it is a quality, I do not mean that it »inheres« in [a] subject. That is a phaneron peculiar to metaphysical thought, not involved in the sensation itself, and therefore not in the quality of feeling, which is entirely contained, or superseded, in the actual sensation. The Germans usually call these qualities feelings, feelings of pleasure or pain. To me this seems to be mere repetition of a tradition, never subjected to the test of observation. I can imagine a consciousness whose whole life, alike when wide awake and when drowsy or dreaming, should consist in nothing at all but a violet color or a stink of rotten cabbage. It is purely a question of what I can imagine and not of what psychological laws permit. The fact that I can imagine this, shows that such a feeling is not general, in the sense in which the law of gravitation is general. For nobody can imagine that law to have any being of any kind if it were impossible that there should exist any two masses of matter, or if there were no such things as motion. A true general cannot have any being unless there is to be some prospect of its sometime having occasion to be embodied in a fact, which is itself not a law or anything like a law. A quality of feeling can be imagined to be without any occurrence, as it seems to me. Its mere may-being gets along without any realization at all.


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