The represented object of color experience

Philosophical Psychology 20 (1):1 – 27 (2007)
Despite a wealth of data we still have no clear idea what color experiences represent. In fact, color experiences vary with so many factors that it has been claimed that they do not represent anything at all. The primary challenge for any representational account of color experience is to accommodate the various psychophysical results that demonstrate that color appearance depends not only on the spectral nature of the target but also on the spectral, spatial and figural nature of the surround. A number of theorists have proposed that this dependence is an aspect of the visual system's constancy mechanism. However this does not in and of itself tell us what, if anything, is represented in color experience. Ultimately the answer to this question will be informed by one's theory of representational content. I will argue that adopting a molecular scheme of representation enables the development of an account of the represented object of color experience that can do justice to the psychophysical data.
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DOI 10.1080/09515080600901988
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John McDowell (1994). Mind and World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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