Graduate studies at Western
Philosophical Topics 33 (1):105-115 (2005)
|Abstract||What knowledge of the colors does perception of the colors provide? My first aim in this essay is to characterize the way in which color experience seems to provide knowledge of colors. This in turn tells us something about what it takes for there to be colors. Color experience provides knowledge of the aspect of the world that is being acted on when we, or some external force, act on the color of an object and thus make a difference to the experiences of people looking at it. It is in this sense that the nature of the colors is transparent to us. For there to be colors is for there to be the qualitative categorical properties that we encounter in perception, action on which affects the color experiences of observers. This line of thought contrasts with the idea that color experience reveals the colors to us, in the sense that it provides knowledge of a number of necessary truths about the colors. In a recent paper, Alex Byrne and David Hilbert provide a careful exposition and critique of this way of developing the idea of color experience as revelatory of the colors. In this paper my main aim is simply to contrast the idea that experience makes the colors transparent to us, with the idea that color experience provides us with knowledge of truths relating to the essences of the colors|
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