Paul Churchland proposed a conceptual framework for translating reflectance profiles into a space he takes to be the color qualia space. It allows him to determine color metamers of spectral surface reflectances without reference to the characteristics of visual systems, claiming that the reflectance classes that it specifies correspond to visually determined metamers. We advance several objections to his method, show that a significant number of reflectance profiles are not placed into the space in agreement with the qualia solid, and (...) produce two sets of counterexamples to his claim for metamers. (shrink)
It can happen that a single surface S, viewed in normal conditions, looks pure blue (“true blue”) to observer John but looks blue tinged with green to a second observer, Jane, even though both are normal in the sense that they pass the standard psychophysical tests for color vision. Tye (2006a) ﬁnds this situation prima facie puzzling, and then oﬀers two diﬀerent “solutions” to the puzzle.1 The ﬁrst is that at least one observer misrepresents S’s color because, though normal in (...) the sense explained, she is not a Normal color observer: her color detection system is not operating in the current condition in the way that Mother Nature intended it to operate. His second solution involves the idea that Mother Nature designed our color detection systems to be reliable with respect to the detection of coarse-grained colors (e.g., blue, green, yellow, orange), but our capacity to represent the ﬁne-grained colors (e.g., true blue, blue tinged with green) is an undesigned spandrel. On this second solution, it is consistent with the variation between John and Jane that both represent the color of S in a way that complies with Mother Nature’s intentions: both represent S as exemplifying the coarse-grained color blue, and since (we may assume) S is in fact blue, both represent it veridically. Of course, they also represent ﬁne-grained colors of S, and, according to Tye, at most one of these representations is veridical (Tye says that only God knows which). But at the level of representation for which Mother Nature designed our color detection systems, both John and Jane (qua Normal observers) are reliable detectors. (shrink)
(Tye 2006) presents us with the following scenario: John and Jane are both stan- dard human visual perceivers (according to the Ishihara test or the Farnsworth test, for example) viewing the same surface of Munsell chip 527 in standard conditions of visual observation. The surface of the chip looks “true blue” to John (i.e., it looks blue not tinged with any other colour to John), and blue tinged with green to Jane.1 Tye then in eﬀect poses a multiple choice question.
Because our only access to color qualities is through their appearance, Byrne & Hilbert's insistence on a strict distinction between apparent colors and real colors leaves them without a principled way of determining when, if ever, we see colors as they really are.
Color-order systems highlight certain features of color phenomenology while neglecting others. It is misleading to speak as if there were a single “psychological color space” that might be described by a rather simple formal structure. Criticisms of functionalism based on multiple realizations of a too-simple formal description of chromatic pheno-menal relations thus miss the mark. It is quite implausible that a functional system representing the full complexity of human color phenomenology should be realizable by radically different (...) qualitative states. (shrink)
If, as Saunders & van Brakel assert, hue, lightness, and saturation characterize artificial color spaces and not the colors of everyday life, one would expect those color spaces to have limited relevance to our understanding of color phenomena and to be of little practical application. This is not the case. Although people perceive these and equivalent color dimensions holistically rather than analytically, they are able to use such triples to categorize the colors of their environment.
What ecological advantages do animals gain by being able to detect, extract and exploit wavelength information? What are the advantages of representing that information as hue qualities? The benefits of adding chromatic to achromatic vision, marginal in object detection, become apparent in object recognition and receiving biological signals. It is argued that this improved performance is a direct consequence of the fact that many animals' visual systems reduce wavelength information to combinations of four basic hues. This engenders a simple categorical (...) scheme that permits a rich amount of sensory information to be rapidly and efficiently employed by cognitive machinery of limited capacity. (shrink)