Color Terms

Edited by Alex Byrne (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
About this topic
Introductions For short overviews of the competing theories of color, see the introduction to Byrne & Hilbert 1997, Hilbert 1998 and Byrne & Hilbert 2002. For a more substantial introduction see Maund 2008. A useful annotated bibliography is Brogaard 2010.
Related categories

36 found
  1. Colour Relationalism, Contextualism, and Self-Locating Contents.Keith Allen - 2012 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 12 (3):331-350.
    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 (...)
  2. Direct Reference, Indexicality, and Propositional Attitudes.M. Anduschus, Albert Newen & Wolfgang Kunne (eds.) - 1997 - CSLI Press.
  3. What Makes Unique Hues Unique?Valtteri Arstila - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):1849-1872.
    There exist two widely used notions concerning the structure of phenomenal color space. The first is the notion of unique/binary hue structure, which maintains that there are four unique hues from which all other hues are composed. The second notion is the similarity structure of hues, which describes the interrelations between the hues and hence does not divide hues into two types as the first notion does. Philosophers have considered the existence of the unique/binary hue structure to be empirically and (...)
  4. Why Are Colour Terms Primarily Used as Adjectives?Edward W. Averill - 1980 - Philosophical Quarterly 30 (January):19-33.
  5. Color Vision. Perspectives From Different Disciplines.W. Backhaus, R. Kliegl & J. Werner (eds.) - 1998 - De Gruyter.
    ... (Port ofLe Havre Through the Mist.] Oil on canvas, 48 x 63 cm. (After restoration.) Musee Marmottan, Paris. (Photo credit: Giraudon/Art Resource. ...
  6. Color Categorization.Robert Briscoe - forthcoming - In Derek Brown & Fiona Macpherson (eds.), Routledge Handbook on the Philosophy of Colour. Routledge.
  7. On the Dual Referent Approach to Colour Theory.Derek H. Brown - 2006 - Philosophical Quarterly 56 (222):96-113.
    A dual referent approach to colour theory maintains that colour names have two intended, equally legitimate referents. For example, one might argue that ‘red’ refers both to red appearances or qualia, and also to the way red objects reflect light, the spectral surface reflectance properties of red things. I argue that normal cases of perceptual relativity can be used to support a dual referent approach, yielding an understanding of colour whose natural extension includes abnormal cases of perceptual relativity. This contrasts (...)
  8. Colour Predicates and Vagueness.Roberto Casati - 1993 - Acta Analytica 10 (10):129-134.
  9. A Relationalist's Guide to Error About Color Perception.Jonathan Cohen - 2007 - Noûs 41 (2):335–353.
    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 (...)
  10. Color Constancy.David H. Foster - 2011 - Vision Research 51:674-700.
    A quarter of a century ago, the first systematic behavioral experiments were performed to clarify the nature of color constancy—the effect whereby the perceived color of a surface remains constant despite changes in the spectrum of the illumination. At about the same time, new models of color constancy appeared, along with physiological data on cortical mechanisms and photographic colorimetric measurements of natural scenes. Since then, as this review shows, there have been many advances. The theoretical requirements for constancy have been (...)
  11. On Lewis on Naming the Colours.Ian Gold - 1999 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (3):365-370.
  12. Objectivism About Color and Comparative Color Statements. Reply to Hansen.Mario Gómez‐Torrente - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):429-435.
    Nat Hansen builds a new argument for subjectivism about the semantics of color language, based on a potential kind of intersubjective disagreements about comparative color statements. In reply, I note that the disagreements of this kind are merely hypothetical, probably few if actual, and not evidently relevant as test cases for a semantic theory. Furthermore, even if they turned out to be actual and semantically relevant, they would be intuitively unusable by the subjectivist.
  13. Perceptual Variation, Color Language, and Reference Fixing. An Objectivist Account.Mario Gómez‐Torrente - 2016 - Noûs 50 (1):3-40.
    I offer a new objectivist theory of the contents of color language and color experience, intended especially as an account of what normal intersubjective variation in color perception and classification shows about those contents. First I explain an abstract account of the contents of color and other gradable adjectives; on the account, these contents are certain objective properties constituted in part by contextually intended standards of application, which are in turn values in the dimensions of variation associated with the adjectives. (...)
  14. A New Argument From Interpersonal Variation to Subjectivism About Color: A Response to Gómez‐Torrente.Nat Hansen - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):421-428.
    I describe a new, comparative, version of the argument from interpersonal variation to subjectivism about color. The comparative version undermines a recent objectivist response to standard versions of that argument.
  15. Color Comparisons and Interpersonal Variation.Nat Hansen - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (4):809-826.
    An important challenge to color objectivists, who hold that statements concerning color are made true or false by objective facts, is the argument from interpersonal variation in where normal observers locate the unique hues. Recently, an attractive objectivist response to the argument has been proposed that draws on the semantics of gradable adjectives and which does not require defending the idea that there is a single correct location for each of the unique hues Noûs 50: 3–40),. In ), I argued (...)
  16. Color Adjectives, Standards, and Thresholds: An Experimental Investigation.Nat Hansen & Emmanuel Chemla - 2017 - Linguistics and Philosophy 40 (3):1--40.
    Are color adjectives ("red", "green", etc.) relative adjectives or absolute adjectives? Existing theories of the meaning of color adjectives attempt to answer that question using informal ("armchair") judgments. The informal judgments of theorists conflict: it has been proposed that color adjectives are absolute with standards anchored at the minimum degree on the scale, that they are absolute but have near-midpoint standards, and that they are relative. In this paper we report two experiments, one based on entailment patterns and one based (...)
  17. On Naming the Colours.A. P. Hazen - 1999 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (2):224-231.
  18. Proving Universalism Wrong Does Not Prove Relativism Right: Considerations on the Ongoing Color Categorization Debate.Yasmina Jraissati - 2013 - Philosophical Psychology (3):1-24.
    For over a century, the question of the relation of language to thought has been extensively discussed in the case of color categorization, where two main views prevail. The relativist view claims that color categories are relative while the universalistic view argues that color categories are universal. Relativists also argue that color categories are linguistically determined, and universalists that they are perceptually determined. Recently, the argument for the perceptual determination of color categorization has been undermined, and the relativist view has (...)
  19. World to Word: Nomenclature Systems of Color and Species.Tanya Kelley - 2017 - Dissertation, University Of Missouri
    As the digitization of information accelerates, the push to encode our surrounding numerically instead of linguistically increases. The role that language has traditionally played in the nomenclature of an integrative taxonomy is being replaced by the numeric identification of one or few quantitative characteristics. Nineteenth-century scientific systems of color identification divided, grouped, and named colors according to multiple characteristics. Now color identification relies on numeric values applied to spectrographic readings. This means of identification of color lacks the taxonomic rigor of (...)
  20. Naming the Colours.David Lewis - 1997 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75 (3):325-42.
  21. L'étoffe du sensible [Sensible Stuffs].Olivier Massin - 2014 - In J.-M. Chevalier & B. Gaultier (eds.), Connaître, Questions d'épistémologie contemporaine. Paris, France: Ithaque. pp. 201-230.
    The proper sensible criterion of sensory individuation holds that senses are individuated by the special kind of sensibles on which they exclusively bear about (colors for sight, sounds for hearing, etc.). H. P. Grice objected to the proper sensibles criterion that it cannot account for the phenomenal difference between feeling and seeing shapes or other common sensibles. That paper advances a novel answer to Grice's objection. Admittedly, the upholder of the proper sensible criterion must bind the proper sensibles –i.e. colors– (...)
  22. Unique Hues and Colour Experience.Mohan Matthen - forthcoming - In Fiona Macpherson & Derek Brown (eds.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Colour.
    In this Handbook entry, I review how colour similarity spaces are constructed, first for physical sources of colour and secondly for colour as it is perceptually experienced. The unique hues are features of one of the latter constructions, due initially to Hering and formalized in the Swedish Natural Colour System. I review the evidence for a physiological basis for the unique hues. Finally, I argue that Tye's realist approach to the unique hues is a mistake.
  23. 'Colour'as Part of the Format of Different Perceptual Primitives: The Dual Coding of Colour.R. Mausfeld - 2003 - In Rainer Mausfeld & Dieter Heyer (eds.), Colour Perception: Mind and the Physical World. Oxford University Press. pp. 381--430.
    The chapter argues from an ethology-inspired internalist perspective that ‘colour’ is not a homogeneous and autonomous attribute, but rather plays different roles in different conceptual forms underlying perception. It discusses empirical and theoretical evidence that indicates that core assumptions underlying orthodox conceptions are grossly inadequate. The assumptions pertain to the idea that colour is a kind of autonomous and unitary attribute. It is regarded as unitary or homogeneous by assuming that its core properties do not depend on the type of (...)
  24. The Dual Coding of Colour.Rainer Mausfeld - 2003 - In Rainer Mausfeld & Dieter Heyer (eds.), Colour Perception: Mind and the Physical World. Oxford University Press. pp. 381--430.
    The chapter argues from an ethology-inspired internalist perspective that ‘colour’ is not a homogeneous and autonomous attribute, but rather plays different roles in different conceptual forms underlying perception. It discusses empirical and theoretical evidence that indicates that core assumptions underlying orthodox conceptions are grossly inadequate. The assumptions pertain to the idea that colour is a kind of autonomous and unitary attribute. It is regarded as unitary or homogeneous by assuming that its core properties do not depend on the type of (...)
  25. Color Perception: From Grassmann Codes to a Dual Code for Object and Illumination Colors.Rainer Mausfeld - 1998 - In W. Backhaus, R. Kliegl & J. Werner (eds.), Color Vision. Perspectives from Different Disciplines. De Gruyter.
  26. Colour Perception: Mind and the Physical World.Rainer Mausfeld & Dieter Heyer (eds.) - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
    Colour has long been a source of fascination to both scientists and philosophers. In one sense, colours are in the mind of the beholder, in another sense they belong to the external world. Colours appear to lie on the boundary where we have divided the world into 'objective' and 'subjective' events. They represent, more than any other attribute of our visual experience, a place where both physical and mental properties are interwoven in an intimate and enigmatic way. -/- The last (...)
  27. Is Colour Composition Phenomenal?Vivian Mizrahi - 2009 - In D. Skusevich & P. Matikas (eds.), Color Perception: Physiology, Processes and Analysis. Nova Science Publishers.
    Most philosophical or scientific theories suppose that colour composition judgments refer to the way colours appear to us. The dominant view is therefore phenomenalist in the sense that colour composition is phenomenally given to perceivers. This paper argues that there is no evidence for a phenomenalist view of colour composition and that a conventionalist approach should be favoured.
  28. Color Objectivism and Color Pluralism.Vivian Mizrahi - 2006 - Dialectica 60 (3):283-306.
    Most objectivist and dispositionalist theories of color have tried to resolve the challenge raised by color variations by drawing a distinction between real and apparent colors. This paper considers such a strategy to be fundamentally erroneous. The high degree of variability of colors constitutes a crucial feature of colors and color perception; it cannot be avoided without leaving aside the real nature of color. The objectivist theory of color defended in this paper holds that objects have locally many different objective (...)
  29. The Character of Color Predicates: A Phenomenalist View.Martine Nida-Rumelin - 1997 - In M. Anduschus, Albert Newen & Wolfgang Kunne (eds.), Direct Reference, Indexicality, and Propositional Attitudes. CSLI Press.
  30. Colour Names and the Concepts of Colours.Robert Pilat - manuscript
    There is growing body of knowledge about how humans and animals perceive col- ours; we may safely say that both physiology and physics of colour perception are becoming less and less mysterious. Still it doesn't help to solve a philosophical puzzle: What do exactly mean expressions like “perceived red” or “perceived green”? What do perceived colours refer to in the world? There are three problem fields I am touching on in this paper: (i) semantics of colour names, (ii) ontological status (...)
  31. Trichromacy and the Neural Basis of Color Discrimination.Peter W. Ross - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (2):206-207.
    I take issue with Saunders & van Brakel's claim that neural processes play no interesting role in determining color categorizations. I distinguish an aspect of color categorization, namely, color discrimination, from other aspects. The law of trichromacy describes conditions under which physical properties cannot be discriminated in terms of color. Trichromacy is explained by properties of neural processes.
  32. Color Perception: Physiology, Processes and Analysis.D. Skusevich & P. Matikas (eds.) - 2009 - Nova Science Publishers.
  33. The Character of Color Predicates: A Materialist View.Wolfgang Spohn - 1997 - In M. Anduschus, Albert Newen & Wolfgang Kunne (eds.), Direct Reference, Indexicality, and Propositional Attitudes. CSLI Press.
    where _x_ stands for a visible object and _y_ for a perceiving subject (the reference to a time may be neglected).1 I take here ”character” in the sense of Kaplan (1977) as substantiated by Haas-Spohn (1995 and Chapter 14 in this book)). The point of using Kaplan’s framework is simple, but of utmost importance: It provides a scheme for clearly separating epistemological and metaphysical issues, for specifying how the two domains are related, and for connecting them to questions concerning meaning (...)
  34. Incompatibility Statements.D. J. Srzednicki - 1962 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 40 (2):178-186.
  35. Review of Don Dedrick, Naming the Rainbow: Colour Language, Colour Science, and Culture. [REVIEW]John Sutton - 2001 - Philosophy in Review/ Comptes Rendus Philosophiques:106-109.
    By spotlighting the irreducible role of cognitive processes between biology and culture, this synthesis and critique of the universalist tradition in colour science offers a genuine starting-point for all future 'serious inquiry into the relationship between linguistic and non-linguistic aspects of colour classification'.
  36. Seeing White and Wrong: Reid on the Role of Sensations in Perception, with a Focus on Color Perception.Lucas Thorpe - 2015 - In Thomas Reid on Mind, Knowledge, and Value (Mind Association Occasional Series). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 100-123.