Questions about the ontology of color matter because colors matter. Colors are (or, at least, appear to be) extremely pervasive and salient features of the world. Moreover, people care about the distribution of these features: they expend money and eﬀort to paint their houses, cars, and other possessions, and their clear preference for polychromatic over monochromatic televisions and computer monitors have consigned monochromatic models to the status of rare antiques. The apparent ubiquity of colors and their importance to our lives (...) makes them a ripe target for ontological questions such as the following:
• What is the nature of colors?
• Are they, as they seem to be, properties of objects? (shrink)
Blind tasting — tasting without knowing the wine’s producer, origin, or other details obtainable from the wine’s label— has become something of a fetish in the wine world. We are told, repeatedly and insistently, that blind tasting is the best, most neutral, least biased, and most honest evaluative procedure, and one that should be employed to the exclusion of non-blind/sighted tasting (which, in turn, is typically disparaged as confused, biased, or dishonest). Professional evaluators (e.g., the tasting panel of the Wine (...) Spectator, the Grand Jury Europ´een, virtually every judging panel in competitive wine events) routinely advertise that they use blind tasting exclusively. Wine books and tasting manuals at all levels consistently emphasize the importance of blind tasting. Thus, Michael Broadbent, perhaps the most prolific author of tasting notes in history, writes that “It is my firm opinion . . . that to assess the qualities of a wine by tasting it completely blind, without any hint of what it might be, is the most useful and salutary discipline that any self-respecting taster can be given” (quoted in ? , 156). Or, again, Ronald Jackson, in his industry-standard textbook on wine tasting, asserts categorically that “Tastings should always be conducted blind, usually with only the names of the wine noted in advance” ( ? , 334). (shrink)
Students of perception have long known that perceptual constancy is an important aspect of our perceptual interaction with the world. Here is a simple example of the phenomenon concerning color perception: there is some ordinary sense in which an unpainted ceramic coffee cup made from a uniform material looks a uniform color when it is viewed under uneven illumination, even though the light reflected by the shaded regions to our eyes is quite different from the light reflected by the unshaded (...) regions to our eyes (see figure 1). Or consider this example concerning size perception: there is some ordinary sense in which two telephone poles look the same size when the first is viewed from 100 meters and when the second is viewed from 1 meter, even though the visual angle subtended by the two poles on our retinae is very different (see figure 2). Or consider this example concerning shape perception: there is some ordinary sense in which a penny looks round both when viewed head on and when viewed from an acute angle, even though the area projected by the penny onto our retinae under these two conditions is very different (see figure 3). Or, finally, consider this example concerning auditory volume perception (which I cannot depict graphically): there is some ordinary sense in which a speaker’s voice sounds the same volume when heard from across the room and when heard from a distance of 1 meter, even though the energy striking our ears under these two conditions is very different. (shrink)
Our choices about what to eat have crucial implications for our stomachs, the welfare of animals, the natural environment, the arrangement of our society, our pleasure, and our health. So a lot is hanging on our decisions about what we eat. Moreover, these are not merely hypothetical ivory tower cases: every one of us typically makes these decisions (or has them made on our behalf) several times daily!
This course is an introduction to contemporary work in epistemology -- roughly, the theory of knowledge -- and metaphysics -- roughly, the theory of what there is in the world. As such, the course will be devoted to fundamental questions about the world and our knowledge of it. What is matter? How is a priori knowledge possible? What does it mean for evidence to confirm a theory? In addressing these topics, we'll also discuss classic paradoxes involving truth, vagueness, space-time, and (...) contradiction. (shrink)
This is a course in recent and contemporary approaches to the theory of knowledge. We'll be looking at some of the major debates in epistemology, including those over the structure of knowledge, the proper analysis of knowledge, justification, and related notions, as well as some meta-epistemological issues that have arisen in recent discussions of so-called naturalized epistemology. The course will not presuppose any exposure to the relevant literatures, and will be a broad overview of some of the going accounts and (...) controversies. (shrink)
Instructor: Jonathan Cohen (joncohenREMOVETHIS@aardvark.ucsd.edu (omit text in caps, which reduces automated spam)) office: (732) 445 6163 home: (718) 499 1213 Office hours: Tuesday, 12:30 to 2:00, in Psychology A132 , on Busch Campus.
This course is an introduction to the philosophy of language. Philosophy of language concerns quite a large number of topics, including meaning, truth, content, reference, the syntax and semantics of various linguistic constructions, the nature and role of presupposition in communicative interchange, speech acts, figurative uses of language, questions about the ontology of languages, the epistemology of language understanding and language learning, the mental/psychologial basis of linguistic understanding and use, and so on. Since we can't possibly study all of these (...) topics, we'll focus our energy on topics that are most central in recent philosophical work on language, and that have far-reaching consequences for other topics in philosophy of language and other areas of philosophy. (shrink)
What makes this, the third edition of Nietzsche as Philosopher, count as "expanded" is that Danto has added six short, recent writings on Nietzsche. Three of these—Danto's introduction to the second edition of the Faber translation of Human, All-Too-Human, his review of Hollingdale's translation of Daybreak, and his contribution to Richard Schacht's anthology on On the Genealogy of Morals —have appeared elsewhere and so will not be discussed here. A fourth piece, "A Comment on Nietzsche's Artistic Metaphysics," was apparently newly (...) written for this volume; however, since it focuses exclusively on "On Truth and Lies in an Extra-Moral Sense"—an early writing not published by Nietzsche himself—it seems a waste of .. (shrink)
Answering machines and other types of recording devices present prima facie problems for traditional theories of the meaning of indexicals. The present essay explores a range of semantic and pragmatic responses to these issues. Careful attention to the difficulties posed by recordings promises to help enlighten the boundaries between semantics and pragmatics more broadly.
There is a long and distinguished tradition in philosophy and psychology according to which the mindâ€™s fundamental, foundational connection to the world is made by connecting perceptually to features of objects. On this picture, which we’ll call feature prioritarianism, minds like ours first make contact with the colors, shapes, and sizes of distal items, and then, only on the basis of the representations so obtained, build up representations of the objects that bear these features. The feature priority view maintains, then, (...) that our perception/knowledge of objects asymmetrically depends on our perception/knowledge of simple features. This paper has two aims. First, we will present evidence, drawn from a variety of perceptual effects, that feature prioritarianism cannot be true, since there are cases that speak against the priority of feature representations in perceptual processing. Instead, we claim that the evidence supports an alternative â€”-and more complexâ€”- no-priority view. Second, we will offer a framework for a no-priority view that both captures the cases we cite and provides a more sensible architecture in which to understand a variety of productive projects in perceptual science, and show how the framework cross-cuts some recent discussions in philosophy of perception. (shrink)
In this paper I reply to two sets of criticisms—a first from Joshua Gert, and a second from Keith Allen—of the relationalist view of color developed and defended in my book, The Red and the Real: An Essay on Color Ontology.
Color relationalism is the view that colors are constituted in terms of relations between subjects and objects. The most historically important form of color relationalism is the classic dispositionalist view according to which, for example red is the disposition to look red to standard observers in standard conditions (mutatis mutandis for other colors).1 However, it has become increasingly apparent in recent years that a commitment to the relationality of colors bears interest that goes beyond dispositionalism (Cohen, 2004; Matthen, 1999, 2001, (...) 2005; Thompson, 1995). Accordingly, it is an important project for those interested in the metaphysics of color to sort through and assess different forms of color relationalism. There is, however, a powerful and general cluster of objections that has been thought by many to amount to a decisive refutation of any and all forms of color relationalism. Although this idea has been developed in a number of ways, the basic thought is that relationalism — qua theory of color — is at odds with the manifest evidence of color phenomenology, and that this clash between theory and data should be resolved by giving up the theory. (shrink)
But Hardin hasn’t contented himself with reframing traditional philosoph- ical issues about color in a way that is sensitive to relevant empirical con- straints. In addition, he has been a staunch defender of color eliminativism — the view that there are no colors, qua properties of tables, chairs, and other mind-external objects, and a vociferous critic of several varieties of re- alism about color that have been defended by others (e.g., [Hardin, 2003], [Hardin, 2005]). These other views include the so-called (...) color physical- ism of [Hilbert, 1987], [Byrne and Hilbert, 1997a], [Byrne and Hilbert, 2003], and [Tye, 2000],1 and, inconveniently, even the relationalist view defended in [Cohen, 2003a], [Cohen, 2004a], [Cohen, 2003b], [McLaughlin, 2003], and [Jakab and McLaughlin, 2003]. (shrink)
Students of perception have long puzzled over a range of cases in which perception seems to tell us distinct, and in some sense conflicting, things about the world. In the cases at issue, the perceptual system is capable of responding to a single stimulus — say, as manifested in the ways in which subjects sort that stimulus — in different ways. This paper is about these puzzling cases, and about how they should be characterized and accounted for within a general (...) theory of perception. After rehearsing the sort of case at issue (§1), I’ll examine critically some of the strategies by which philosophers and perceptual psychologists have attempted to account for them (§2). Finally, I’ll present an alternative computational account of the puzzle cases, argue that this view is superior to its competitors, and examine some of its implications (§3). (shrink)
What is the relationship between sounds and time? More specifically, is there something essentially or distinctively temporal about sounds that distinguishes them from, say, colors, shapes, odors, tastes, or other sensible qualities? And just what might this distinctive relation to time consist in? Apart from their independent interest, these issues have a number of important philosophical repercussions. First, if sounds are temporal in a way that other sensible qualities are not, then this would mean that standard lists of paradigm secondary (...) qualities offered by Locke, Galileo, and other modern philosophers — lists which include colors, odors and sounds without any significant distinctions — overlook significant metaphysical differences. This, in turn, would threaten to undermine the coherence of the modern understanding of secondary qualities itself. Moreover, a number of authors have recently urged that the essential temporality of sounds makes it impossible to understand sounds as properties (except on a trope theory of properties; see note 3). If true, and given the more or less universal view that colors are properties, this last conclusion would make potentially inapplicable to sounds much of the comparatively well-developed philosophical taxonomy and apparatus that has arisen in philosophical disputes over the status of colors (for presentations of this taxonomy and apparatus see, for example, Byrne and Hilbert (2003); Cohen (2008b)).1 Therefore, the conclusion that sounds are distinctively temporal would be a serious blow to hopes for a theoretically unified treatment of the sensory qualities.2 For all these reasons, quite a lot seems to hang on the question of the temporality of sounds. (shrink)
An important obstacle to lawhood in the special sciences is the worry that such laws would require metaphysically extravagant conspiracies among fundamental particles. How, short of conspiracy, is this possible? In this paper we'll review a number of strategies that allow for the projectibility of special science generalizations without positing outlandish conspiracies: non-Humean pluralism, classical MRL theories of laws, and Albert and Loewer's theory. After arguing that none of the above fully succeed, we consider the conspiracy problem through the lens (...) of our preferred view of laws, an elaboration of the MRL view that we call the Better Best System (BBS) theory. BBS offers a picture on which, although all events supervene on a fundamental level, there is no one unique locus of projectibility; rather there are a large number of loci corresponding to the different areas (ecology, economics, solid-state chemistry, etc.) in which there are simple and strong generalizations to be made. While we expect that some amount of conspiracy-fear-inducing special science projectibility is inevitable given BBS, we'll argue that this is unobjectionable. It follows from BBS that the laws of any particular special or fundamental science amount to a proper subset of the laws. From this vantage point, the existence of projectible special science generalizations not guaranteed by the fundamental laws is not an occasion for conspiracy fantasies, but a predictable fact of life in a complex world. (shrink)
An important motivation for relational theories of color is that they resolve apparent conflicts about color: x can, without contradiction, be red relative to S1 and not red relative to S2. Alas, many philosophers claim that the view is incompatible with naive, phenomenally grounded introspection. However, when we presented normal adults with apparent conflicts about color (among other properties), we found that many were open to the relationalist's claim that apparently competing variants can simultaneously be correct. This suggests that, philosophers' (...) claims to the contrary notwithstanding, introspection does not supply authoritative and unambiguous reason to reject color relationalism. (shrink)
Social exclusion and legal marginalization are important determinants of health outcomes for people who use illicit drugs, sex workers, and persons who face criminal penalties because of homosexuality or transgenderism. Incarceration may add to the health risks associated with police repression and discrimination for these persons. Access to legal services may be essential to positive health outcomes in these populations. Through concrete examples, this paper explores types of legal problems and legal services linked to health outcomes for drug users, sex (...) workers, and sexual minorities and makes recommendations for donors, legal service providers, and civil society organizations. (shrink)
The space of options -- The argument from perceptual variation -- Variation revisited : objections and responses -- Relationism defended : linguistic and mental representation of color -- Relationism defended : ontology -- Relationism defended : phenomenology -- A role functionalist theory of color -- Role functionalism and its relationalist rivals.
Perhaps the most significant contemporary theory of lawhood is the Best System (/MRL) view on which laws are true generalizations that best systematize knowledge. Our question in this paper will be how best to formulate a theory of this kind. We’ll argue that an acceptable MRL should (i) avoid inter-system comparisons of simplicity, strength, and balance, (ii) make lawhood epistemically accessible, and (iii) allow for laws in the special sciences. Attention to these problems will bring into focus a useful menu (...) of novel MRL theories, some of which solve problems the original MRL theory could not. Hence we conceive of the paper as moving toward a better Best System theory of laws. (shrink)
There is nothing in this World constant but Inconstancy. [Swift 1711: 258] In this paper I argue that two standard characterizations of colour constancy are inadequate to the phenomenon. This inadequacy matters, since, I contend, philosophical appeals to colour constancy as a way of motivating illumination-independent conceptions of colour turn crucially on the shortcomings of these characterizations. After critically reviewing the standard characterizations, I provide a novel counterfactualist understanding of colour constancy, argue that it avoids difficulties of its traditional rivals, (...) and defend it from objections. Finally, I show why, on this improved understanding, colour constancy does not have the philosophical consequences that have been claimed for it in the literature. (shrink)
Photographs furnish evidence. This is true in both formal and informal contexts. The use of photographs as legal evidence goes back to the very earliest days of photography, and they have been used in American trials since around the time of the Civil War. Photographs may also serve as historical evidence (for example, about the Civil War). And they serve in informal contexts as evidence about all sorts of things, such as what we and our loved ones looked like in (...) the past. (shrink)
In earlier work we proposed an account of information grounded in counterfactual conditionals rather than probabilities, and argued that it might serve philosophical needs that more familiar probabilistic alternatives do not. Demir  and Scarantino  criticize the counterfactual approach by contending that its alleged advantages are illusory and that it fails to secure attractive desiderata. In this paper we defend the counterfactual account from these criticisms, and suggest that it remains a useful account of information.
Color relationalism is the view that colors are constituted in terms of relations to perceiving subjects. Among its explanatory virtues, relation- alism provides a satisfying treatment of cases of perceptual variation. But it can seem that relationalists lack resources for saying that a representa- tion of x’s color is erroneous. Surely, though, a theory of color that makes errors of color perception impossible cannot be correct. In this paper I’ll argue that, initial appearances notwithstanding, relationalism contains the resources to account (...) for errors of color perception. I’ll conclude that worries about making room for error are worries the relationalist can meet. (shrink)
Philosophy of mind today is a sprawling behemoth whose tentacles reach into virtually every area of philosophy, as well as many subjects outside of philosophy. Of course, none of us would have it any other way. Nonetheless, this state of aﬀairs poses obvious organizational challenges for anthology editors. Brian McLaughlin and I have attempted to meet these challenges in the present volume by focusing on ten controversial and fundamental topics in philosophy of mind. ‘Controversial’ is clear enough: we have chosen (...) topics about which there is not a settled consensus among philosophers. By ‘fundamental’, we don’t mean that the issues are easy or that the approaches taken toward them are introductory. Rather, we mean that (i) the resolution of these topics has implications for other issues inside and outside philosophy of mind, and (ii) past rounds of debate have revealed these topics as underlying broader disagreements. We asked leading philosophers of mind to defend one side or another on these topics. The result is what you now have in your hands. (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)
o (2000), 243). In particular, the idea is that binding interactions between the relevant expressions and natural lan- guage quantiﬁers are best explained by the hypothesis that those expressions harbor hidden but bindable variables. Recently, however, Herman Cappelen and Ernie Lepore have rejected such binding arguments for the presence of hid- den variables on the grounds that they overgeneralize — that, if sound, such arguments would establish the presence of hidden variables in all sorts of ex- pressions where it is (...) implausible that they exist (Cappelen and Lepore (2005), Cappelen and Lepore (2002)).1 In what follows we respond to Cappelen’s and Lepore’s attempted reductio by bringing out crucial disanalogies between cases where the binding argument is successful and cases where it is not. But we have a deeper purpose than merely to respond to Cappelen and Lepore: we think the attempted reductio goes wrong by not taking suﬃciently seriously the nature of the binding relation that holds between quantiﬁers and arguments/variables, and that our criticism will serve to highlight the nature and importance of this relation. (shrink)
Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind showcases the leading contributors to the field, debating the major questions in philosophy of mind today. Comprises 20 newly commissioned essays on hotly debated issues in the philosophy of mind Written by a cast of leading experts in their fields, essays take opposing views on 10 central contemporary debates A thorough introduction provides a comprehensive background to the issues explored Organised into three sections which explore the ontology of the mental, nature of the mental (...) content, and the nature of consciousness. (shrink)
We propose that scientific representation is a special case of a more general notion of representation, and that the relatively well worked-out and plausible theories of the latter are directly applicable to thc scientific special case. Construing scientific representation in this way makes the so-called “problem of scientific representation” look much less interesting than it has seerned to many, and suggests that some of the (hotly contested) debates in the literature are concerned with non-issues.
We offer a novel theory of information that differs from traditional accounts in two respects: (i) it explains information in terms of counterfactuals rather than conditional probabilities, and (ii) it does not make essential reference to doxastic states of subjects, and consequently allows for the sort of objective, reductive explanations of various notions in epistemology and philosophy of mind that many have wanted from an account of information.
An adequate ontology of color must face the empirical facts about per- ceptual variation. In this paper I begin by reviewing a range of data about perceptual variation, and showing how they tell against color physicalism and motivate color relationalism. Next I consider a series of objections to the argument from perceptual variation, and argue that they are un- persuasive. My conclusion will be that the argument remains a powerful obstacle for color physicalism, and a powerful reason to believe in (...) color relationalism instead. (shrink)
Many philosophers have been attracted by the view that colors are mind- independent properties of object surfaces. A leading, and increasingly popular, version of this view that has been defended in recent years is the so-called physicalist position that identi?es colors with (classes of) spectral re?ectance distributions.1 This view, has, however, come in for a fair bit of criticism for failing to do justice to the facts about perceptual variation.2.
We propose that scientific representation is a special case of a more general notion of representation, and that the relatively well worked-out and plausible theories of the latter are directly applicable to the scien- tific special case. Construing scientific representation in this way makes the so-called “problem of scientific representation” look much less inter- esting than it has seemed to many, and suggests that some of the (hotly contested) debates in the literature are concerned with non-issues.
(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.
You may speak of a chain, or if you please, a net. An analogy is of little aid. Each cause brings about future events. Without each the future would not be the same. Each is proximate in the sense it is essential. But that is not what we mean by the word. Nor on the other hand do we mean sole cause. There is no such thing.
One hypothesis concerning the human dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is that it functions, in part, to signal the occurrence of conflicts in information processing, thereby triggering compensatory adjustments in cognitive control. Since this idea was first proposed, a great deal of relevant empirical evidence has accrued. This evidence has largely corroborated the conflict-monitoring hypothesis, and some very recent work has provided striking new support for the theory. At the same time, other findings have posed specific challenges, especially concerning the (...) way the theory addresses the processing of errors. Recent research has also begun to shed light on the larger function of the ACC, suggesting some new possibilities concerning how conflict monitoring might fit into the cingulate's overall role in cognition and action. (shrink)
Are colors relational or non-relational properties of their bearers? Is red a property that is instantiated by all and only the objects with a certain intrinsic (/non-relational) nature? Or does an object with a particular intrinsic (/non-relational) nature count as red only in virtue of standing in certain relations - for example, only when it looks a certain way to a certain perceiver, or only in certain circumstances of observation? In this paper I shall argue for the view that color (...) properties are relational (henceforth, relationalism), and against the view that colors are not relational (henceforth, anti- or non-relationalism). (shrink)