This paper presents an ‘over-representational’ account of blurred visual experiences. The basic idea is that blurred experiences provide too much, inconsistent, information about objects’ spatial boundaries, by representing them as simultaneously located at multiple locations. This account attempts to avoid problems with alternative accounts of blurred experience, according to which blur is a property of a visual field, a way of perceiving, a form of mis-representation, and a form of under-representation.
Locke Defines Knowledge at the beginning of Book IV of the Essay concerning Human Understanding as “the perception of the connexion and agreement, or disagreement and repugnancy of any of our Ideas” (E IV.i.2).1 So defined, knowledge varies along two dimensions. On the one hand, there are four “sorts” of knowledge: of identity or diversity; relation; co-existence or necessary connection; and real existence. On the other hand, there are three “degrees” of knowledge: intuitive knowledge, which consists in the “immediate” perception (...) of agreement or disagreement between ideas (E IV.ii.1); demonstrative knowledge, which consists in the perception of agreement or disagreement by way of intermediate (or intervening) .. (shrink)
This paper considers two accounts of the way that colours are represented in perception, thought, and language that are consistent with relationalist theories of colour: Jonathan Cohen’s contextualist semantics for colour ascriptions, and Andy Egan’s suggestion that colour ascriptions have self-locating contents. I argue that colours are not represented in perception, thought, or language as mind-dependent relational properties.
In addressing the metaphysical question of what colours are, a consideration that is commonly appealed to is how colours are represented—typically in perceptual experiences, but also in beliefs and linguistic utterances. Although representations need not accurately reflect the nature of what they represent—indeed, they need not represent anything that actually exists at all—the way colours are represented is often taken to provide at least a defeasible guide to the metaphysics: all else being equal, it seems we should prefer a theory (...) of what colours that is consistent with the way that they appear; otherwise, our theory of the nature of colour entails a potentially unattractive error theory about ordinary colour ascriptions. (shrink)
According to naïve realist (or primitivist) theories of colour, colours are sui generis mind-independent properties. The question that I consider in this paper is the relationship of naïve realism to what Mark Johnston calls Revelation, the thesis that the essential nature of colour is fully revealed in a standard visual experience. In the first part of the paper, I argue that if naïve realism is true, then Revelation is false. In the second part of the paper, I defend naïve realism (...) against a number of objections. (shrink)
A collection of new essays on causation in the period from Galileo to Lady Mary Shepherd (roughly 1600-1850). Contributors: David Wootton, Tad Schmaltz, William Eaton and Robert Higgerson, Eric Schliesser, Pauline Phemister, Timothy Stanton, Peter Millican, Constantine Sandis, Boris Hennig, Angela Breitenbach, Stathis Psillos, and Martha Brandt Bolton.
Variations in colour perception have featured prominently in recent attempts to argue against the view that colours are objective mind-independent properties of the perceptual environment. My aim in this paper is to defend the view that colours are mind-independent properties in response to worries arising from one type of empirically documented case of perceptual variation: variation in the perception of the «unique hues». §1 sets out the challenge raised by variation in the perception of the unique hues. I argue in (...) §2 that the empirical findings are less dramatic than they might initially appear, and in §3 that accounting for the inter-personal differences is consistent with the view that colours are mind-independent properties that normal subjects veridically perceive, at least roughly speaking. (shrink)
Objects appear different as the illumination under which they are perceived varies. This fact is sometimes thought to pose a problem for the view that colours are mind-independent properties: if a coloured object appears different under different illuminations, then under which illumination does the object appear the colour it really is? I argue that given the nature of natural daylight, and certain plausible assumptions about the nature of the colours it illuminates, there is a non-arbitrary reason to suppose that it (...) is under natural daylight that we are able to perceive the real colours of objects. (shrink)
According to Locke, what are ideas? I argue that Locke does not give an account of the nature of ideas. In the Essay, the question is simply set to one side, as recommended by the “Historical, plain Method” that Locke employs. This is exemplified by his characterization of ‘ideas’ in E I.i.8, and the discussion of the inverted spectrum hypothesis in E II.xxxii. In this respect, Locke’s attitude towards the nature of ideas in the Essay is reminiscent of Boyle’s diffident (...) attitude the nature of matter. In posthumously published work, however, Locke suggests that the enquiry into the nature of ideas is one of the things that the enquiry into the extent of human knowledge undertaken in the Essay actually shows to lie beyond the “compass of human understanding”. In this respect, Locke’s attitude towards the nature of ideas is reminiscent of Sydenham’s attitude towards the nature of diseases. (shrink)
What is the relationship between being coloured and looking coloured? According to Alva Noë, to be coloured is to manifest a pattern of apparent colours as the perceptual conditions vary. I argue that Noë’s ‘phenomenal objectivism’ faces similar objections to attempts by traditional dispositionalist theories of colour to account for being coloured in terms of looking coloured. Instead, I suggest that to be coloured is to look coloured in a ‘non-perspectival’ sense, where non-perspectival looks transcend specific perceptual conditions.
Inter-species variation in colour perception poses a serious problem for the view that colours are mind-independent properties. Given that colour perception varies so drastically across species, which species perceives colours as they really are? In this paper, I argue that all do. Specifically, I argue that members of different species perceive properties that are determinates of different, mutually compatible, determinables. This is an instance of a general selectionist strategy for dealing with cases of perceptual variation. According to selectionist views, objects (...) simultaneously instantiate a plurality of colours, all of them genuinely mind-independent, and subjects select from amongst this plurality which colours they perceive. I contrast selectionist views with relationalist views that deny the mind-independence of colour, and consider some general objections to this strategy. (shrink)
Locke’s argument for the primary-secondary quality distinction is compared with Descartes’s argument (in the Principles of Philosophy) for the distinction between mechanical modifications and sensible qualities. I argue that following Descartes, Locke’s argument for the primary-secondary quality distinction is an essentially a priori argument, based on our conception of substance, and the constraints on intelligible bodily interaction that this conception of substance sets.
The view that the mind-dependence of colour is implicit in our ordinary thinking has a distinguished history. With its origins in Berkeley, the view has proved especially popular amongst so-called ‘Oxford’ philosophers, proponents including Cook Wilson (1904: 773-4), Pritchard (1909: 86-7), Ryle (1949: 209), Kneale (1950: 123) and McDowell (1985: 112). Gareth Evans’s discussion of secondary qualities in “Things Without the Mind” is representative of this tradition. It is his version of the view that I consider in this paper.