Forestalling a food fight over color

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (6):788-789 (2003)
Abstract
Byrne and Hilbert provide valuable clarification of the complexities–undreamt of by the layman–that make it hard to answer the question of what color is, and that often lead color scientists to say such remarkable and extravagant things. They emphasize at the outset that their issue is not just how to define the ordinary language term “color”: “The problem of color realism is like the investigation of what humans can digest, not the investigation of the folk category of food.” [ms p4], but then I am puzzled by a tension in the target article regarding the weight they put on our ordinary intuitions about color. The very setting of the issue as a disagreement between “color realists” and “color eliminativists” endows the everyday concept with somewhat more authority than it deserves–comparable to an imaginary debate between biologists who were “food realists” and “food eliminativists”!
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