Definition of quale in US English:


(also qualia)


  • A quality or property as perceived or experienced by a person.

    • ‘Nonetheless the type-type identity theory has enjoyed a recent if modest resurgence at least with respect to qualia or qualitative conscious properties.’
    • ‘Sensory receptors provide information about the quality of the stimuli that they detect, giving rise to what philosophers call the qualia of conscious perceptual experience.’
    • ‘The qualia of experience are mediated by linguistic and historical factors, but out-of-the-ordinary or mystical states are beyond mediation in their lack of intentional objects.’
    • ‘According to Block, what has remained the same is the qualia of my experience; what has changed is the intentional content.’
    • ‘On Ayer's view, quale formed the patterns constituting a primary system, and it was on the basis of this system that we posited the existence of physical objects, this being the ‘theoretical’ secondary system.’


Late 17th century: from Latin, neuter of qualis ‘of what kind’.