The autonomy of colour

In K. Lennon & D. Charles (eds.), Reduction, Explanation, and Realism. Oxford University Press. 191-225 (1992)
Abstract
This essay* takes two notions of autonomy and two notions of explanation and argues that colours occur in explanations that fall under all of them. The claim that colours can be used to explain anything at all may seem to some people an outrage. But their pessimism is unjustified and the orthodox dispositional view which may seem to support it, I shall argue, itself has difficulties. In broad terms, Section 2 shows that there exist good straight scientific laws of colour, constituting what one might call a phenomenal science. Section 3 offers a larger view of what we are doing when we attribute colours to things, a view which makes it a case of holistic explanation, similar in many ways to psychological explanation. Section 2 emphasizes the model of scientific explanation, and Section 3 the holistic model found in rational explanation; but it will emerge that colour explanation in different ways fits both models, as it also does the two principal notions of autonomy that the first section identifies.
Keywords color
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    Citations of this work BETA
    Alex Byrne (2003). Color and Similarity. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (3):641-65.
    Daniel Dennett (1992). Hitting the Nail on the Head. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15 (1):35-35.
    Mohan Matthen (1992). Color Vision: Content Versus Experience. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15 (1):46-47.

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