Word of the Week for the week of August 21, 2016

Quale or Qualia

[KWAH-lee, KWAH-lee-ah]

Meaning & Usage

noun a term used in philosophy to refer to one's personal experience with a sensory event, such as the way a person experiences a headache compared to someone else.

"What color red is that fire engine?," is not a stupid question—everyone will have a different experience of color. The quale of red is unique because we cannot be sure if, when you see a fire truck, the color "red" you are seeing is the exact same shade of red that I see.


From Latin qualis (or what kind). Earliest documented use: 1654.

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