What is Quantity and Quality, What Does It Mean?

What is Quantity and Quality, What Does It Mean?

July 2, 2021 Off By Felso

Quantity and quality are two closely interconnected aspects of objective reality introduced by dialectical materialist philosophy. Objective reality is a certain unity of quantity and quality. There can be no purely quantitative objects, nor can there be any purely qualitative objects.


The part of the object that is the subject of measurement is called the quantity. Dialectical materialist analysis has explained that quantity and quality are two inseparable aspects of objective reality. They are quantitatively dependent on quality, they transform into each other, they cannot be separated. There is nothing just quantitative or just qualitative. Even abstract concepts cannot be severed from this connection. For example, three (quantities) are either pens, people or apples (qualities); beautiful (quality) is either less beautiful or very beautiful or more beautiful (quantity).

A master of scientific philosophy has shown that numbers, the most abstract quantity, also have a quality:

“The number 16 is not only the sum of 16 1s, but also the square of 4 and the fourth power of 2. The fundamental numbers give new and precise properties to numbers that are multiplied by other numbers by themselves.”

Every object and event is the unity of a certain quality and a certain quantity. Disruption of this unity transforms that object or event into another object or event. In order for something to remain what it is, there are many substances whose qualitative and quantitative aspects are united to a certain extent, but which are different from each other. The union of two nitrogens with one oxygen is a laughing gas, the union of two nitrogens with five oxygens is a solid crystal. In order for a gas to become a gas and a crystal to be a crystal, the balance of quantities and qualities must not be disturbed. Disrupting this balance, for example adding or removing four oxygens, transforms gas into crystal and crystal into gas.

For this transformation, it is not necessary for the quantity to decrease or increase as in our example, it is sufficient for the quantity to change its equilibrium proportion in the unity even though the total remains the same. For example, when we convert heat to mechanical motion or mechanical motion to heat, the quality changes although the quantity remains the same as a total. However, the quantity decreasing from the heat is added to the motion, or the quantity decreasing from the motion is added to the heat. This means that in order for an object to remain what it is, it must maintain the balance between its quality and quantity. However, for an object to change its quality, a quantity change is probably necessary, even if it does not change in total, as in our last example.

“A change in quality is not possible without a change in quantity.”

It is quality that is fundamental in the dependent unity of quantity, because an object or event has a more or less continuous mode of being, and while it changes quantitatively it maintains this qualitative mode of being up to a certain limit. For quality to change, quantity must change, but not every quantity change requires quality change. In order for the quality to change, the quantity must change beyond a certain limit, in other words, it must decrease or increase in the unity of a certain object or event so as to disrupt the relational balance with the quality. For example, two hydrogens and one oxygen, which are water between 1-99 degrees, turn into ice at 0 degrees and gas at 100 degrees. Similarly, although the number of socialists in a capitalist (capitalist N.) society increases to half the number of voters, it cannot change the capitalist character of that society. This means that every quantitative change that exceeds a certain equilibrium limit necessitates a quality change. However, every qualitative change also allows for new quantitative changes. This is the basic law of motion and development.


The aspect of the object that is the subject of perception is called the attribute. In dialectical and historical materialist philosophy, ‘quality’ is the mode of existence of objects and events. It is their qualities that make objects and events what they are, distinguish them from other objects and events, and diversify them endlessly and endlessly. Every object and event has a quantitative side as well, depending on the qualitative side. Therefore, quality and quantity are dependent on each other. There are no objects or events that are purely qualitative or purely quantitative.

Differences between identical objects and events are quantitative differences (large or small apple, sliced ​​or whole apple, etc.) Differences between non-identical objects and events are qualitative differences (human, tree, bird, stone, etc.). The concept of philosophical quality does not carry a value judgment like the quality in the spoken language and cannot be reduced to the properties of objects or events; It expresses the holistic essence of the object or event, the absence of which will make that object or event not what it is. A change in quantity does not remove an object or event from being itself up to a certain limit, an apple is still an apple even if it is cut into slices. But a change of quality makes an object or event not itself, an apple is boiled and melted over high heat.