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Summary Inverted spectrum arguments seek to refute physicalism or functionalism about qualia by showing that, even when all the relevant physical (or functional or intentional or behavioural) facts are held constant, the facts about qualia can still vary, and hence that the phenomenal must be over and above the physical (or functional etc.). The argument trades on the widely, though not universally, accepted fact that at least one of our modes of sensation--usually taken to be colour sensation--has at least one axis of symmetry, such that our colour sensations could be inverted along that axis of symmetry while leaving all the relations between those colour sensations unaffected, and so (arguably) leaving unaffected all of our dispositions with respect to those sensations.
Key works The inverted spectrum argument is generally thought to originate with Locke & Nidditch 1979 (Book 2, Chap. XXXII). A seminal modern discussion is Shoemaker 1982, while Block 1990 influentially applies the inverted spectrum argument to intentionalism as well as functionalism. Two representative replies from the internationalist camp are Hilbert & Kalderon 2000 and Tye 2000Horgan 1984 and Putnam 1981 present inverted spectrum arguments against functionalism, while responses include Cole 1990 and Rey 1992.
Introductions Byrne 2004; Nida-Rümelin 1996Chalmers 1995Block 2007
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146 found
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1 — 50 / 146
  1. Gert on the Shifted Spectrum.Alex Byrne - manuscript
    As Gert says, the basic claim of representationism is that the phenomenal character of an experience supervenes on its representational content. Restricted to color experience, representationism may be put as follows.
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  2. Do Pseudonormal Persons Have Inverted Qualia? Scientific Hypotheses and Philosophical Interpretations.Uwe Meyer - forthcoming - Facta Philosophica.
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  3. Spectrum Inversion.Peter W. Ross - forthcoming - In Derek Brown & Fiona Macpherson (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Colour. Routledge.
    This chapter examines the spectrum inversion hypothesis as an argument against certain kinds of account of what it’s like to be conscious of color. The hypothesis aims to provide a counterexample to accounts of what it’s like to be conscious of color in non-qualitative terms, as well as to accounts of what it’s like to be conscious of color in terms of the representational content of conscious visual states (which, according to some philosophers, is in turn given an account in (...)
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  4. The Interpersonal Variability of Gustatory Sensation and the Prospects for an Alimentary Aesthetics.Vaughn Bryan Baltzly - 2020 - Intervalla 7 (1):6-16.
    We all have different “tastes” for different tastes: some of us have a sweet tooth, while others prefer more subtle flavors; some crave spicy foods, while others cannot stand them. As Bourdieu and others have pointed out, these varying judgments seem to be more than mere preferences; often they reflect (and partially constitute) differences of class and culture. But I want to suggest that we’ve possibly overlooked another important source of these divergent gastronomic evaluations, other than hierarchy and caste: mere (...)
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  5. Phenomenal Consciousness.Manas Kumar Sahu - 2020 - Journal of Advances in Education and Philosophy 4 (4):160-166.
    The objective of this paper is to defend the non-reductive thesis of phenomenal consciousness. This paper will give an overview of the arguments for the non-reductive explanation of phenomenal consciousness and justify why the reductionist approach is implausible in the context of explaining phenomenal subjective experience. The debate between reductionist and non-reductionist on the project of Demystifying and Mystifying phenomenal consciousness is driven by two fundamental assumptions-1) Reductive-Naturalistic Objectivism, 2) Phenomenal Realism. There are several arguments for the irreducibility of phenomenal (...)
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  6. Mad Qualia.Umut Baysan - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):467-485.
    This paper revisits some classic thought experiments in which experiences are detached from their characteristic causal roles, and explores what these thought experiments tell us about qualia epiphenomenalism, i.e., the view that qualia are epiphenomenal properties. It argues that qualia epiphenomenalism is true just in case it is possible for experiences of the same type to have entirely different causal powers. This is done with the help of new conceptual tools regarding the concept of an epiphenomenal property. One conclusion is (...)
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  7. Subjectivity, Multiple Drafts and the Inconceivability of Zombies and the Inverted Spectrum in This World.Elizabeth Schier - 2019 - Topoi 38 (4):845-853.
    Proponents of the hard problem of consciousness argue that the zombie and inverted spectrum thought experiments demonstrate that consciousness cannot be physical. They present scenarios designed to demonstrate that it is conceivable that a physical replica of someone can have radically different or no conscious experiences, that such an experience-less replica is possible and therefore that materialism is false. I will argue that once one understands the limitations that the physics of this world puts on cognitive systems, zombies and the (...)
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  8. The Functional Mapping Hypothesis.Michael Pauen - 2017 - Topoi 36 (1):107-118.
  9. Inverted Earth Revisited.Huiming Ren - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (5):1093-1107.
    By considering another version of the Inverted Earth thought experiment in which the protagonist is informed that she is implanted with inverting lenses behind her eyes, I argue that the thought experiment doesn’t successfully pose a challenge to representationalism because after many years, the protagonist’s visual experience of the sky of Inverted Earth would simply represent it as blue.
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  10. Tying the Knot: Why Representationalists Should Endorse the Sensorimotor Theory of Conscious Feel.David Silverman - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263):pqv097.
    The sensorimotor theory of perception and consciousness is frequently presented as a variety of anti-representationalist cognitive science, and there is thus a temptation to suppose that those who take representation as bedrock should reject the approach. This paper argues that the sensorimotor approach is compatible with representationalism, and moreover that representationalism about phenomenal qualities, such as that advocated by Tye, would be more complete and less vulnerable to criticism if it incorporated the sensorimotor account of conscious feel. The paper concludes (...)
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  11. A Note on the Definition of Physicalism.Ben Blumson & Weng Hong Tang - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (1):10-18.
    Physicalism is incompatible with what is known as the possibility of zombies, that is, the possibility of a world physically like ours, but in which there are no conscious experiences. But it is compatible with what is known as the possibility of ghosts, that is, the possibility of a world which is physically like ours, but in which there are additional nonphysical entities. In this paper we argue that a revision to the traditional definition of physicalism designed to accommodate the (...)
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  12. From Inverted Spectra to Colorless Qualia: A Wittgensteinian Critique.William H. Brenner - 2015 - Philosophical Investigations 38 (4):360-381.
    This is terribly hard, Thouless, I'm sorry. I have thought over all this for years. … It is now as if we had ploughed furrows in different parts of a field. There is a lot left to do. Judging from their writings, most contemporary analytic philosophers have not been persuaded that “the inverted spectrum problem” is – as Wittgenstein maintained – really a conceptual puzzle calling for dissolution, rather than a straight problem calling for a solution. In this paper, I (...)
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  13. Love in the Time of Cholera.Benj Hellie - 2014 - In Berit Brogaard (ed.), Does Perception Have Content? Oxford University Press. pp. 241–261.
    We begin with a theory of the structure of sensory consciousness; a target phenomenon of 'presentation' can be clearly located within this structure. We then defend the rational-psychological necessity of presentation. We conclude with discussion of these philosophical challenges to the possibility of presentation. One crucial aspect of the discussion is recognition of the <cite>nonobjectivity</cite> of consciousness (a technical appendix explains what I mean by that). The other is a full-faced stare at the limitations of rational psychology: much of the (...)
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  14. Qualia Change and Colour Science.Lieven Decock & Igor Douven - 2013 - In Vassilios Karakostas & Dennis Dieks (eds.), Epsa11 Perspectives and Foundational Problems in Philosophy of Science. Springer. pp. 417--428.
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  15. Do We Need Qualia to Do Physics?Marek Suwara - 2012 - Dialogue and Universalism 22 (4):67-74.
    Following the well known inverted spectrum argument by John Locke we examine the necessity of the first person experience in creating scientific knowledge, in particular, in physics. It is found that Locke’s argument is irrelevant for creating objective knowledge as the necessary things we need to do physics are: ability to perform measurements in terms of comparing certain quantities, ability to create theoretical ideas (in dependence inter alia on cultural principles, changing in the course of history), and the brain structure (...)
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  16. Qualia Qua Qualitons: Mental Qualities as Abstract Particulars.Hilan Bensusan & Eros Moreira De Carvalho - 2011 - Acta Analytica 26 (2):155-163.
    In this paper we advocate the thesis that qualia are tropes (or qualitons), and not (universal) properties. The main advantage of the thesis is that we can accept both the Wittgensteinian and Sellarsian assault on the given and the claim that only subjective and private states can do justice to the qualitative character of experience. We hint that if we take qualia to be tropes, we dissolve the problem of inverted qualia. We develop an account of sensory concept acquisition that (...)
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  17. Tye-Dyed Teleology and the Inverted Spectrum.Jason Ford - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (2):267-281.
    Michael Tye’s considered position on visual experience combines representationalism with externalism about color, so when considering spectrum inversion, he needs a principled reason to claim that a person with inverted color vision is seeing things incorrectly. Tye’s responses to the problem of the inverted spectrum ( 2000 , in: Consciousness, color, and content, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA and 2002a , in: Chalmers (ed.) Philosophy of mind: classical and contemporary readings, Oxford University Press, Oxford) rely on a teleological approach to (...)
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  18. Spectrum Inversion Without a Difference in Representation is Impossible.Jeff Speaks - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (3):339-361.
    Even if spectrum inversion of various sorts is possible, spectrum inversion without a difference in representation is not. So spectrum inversion does not pose a challenge for the intentionalist thesis that, necessarily, within a given sense modality, if two experiences are alike with respect to content, they are also alike with respect to their phenomenal character. On the contrary, reflection on variants of standard cases of spectrum inversion provides a strong argument for intentionalism. Depending on one’s views about the possibility (...)
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  19. Locke and the Nature of Ideas.Keith Allen - 2010 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 92 (3):236-255.
    What, according to Locke, 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 (...)
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  20. Locating Projectivism in Intentionalism Debates.Derek H. Brown - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (1):69-78.
    Intentionalism debates seek to uncover the relationship between the qualitative aspects of experience—phenomenal character—and the intentionality of the mind. They have been at or near center stage in the philosophy of mind for more than two decades, and in my view need to be reexamined. There are two core distinct intentionalism debates that are rarely distinguished (Sect. 1). Additionally, the characterization of spectrum inversion as involving inverted qualities and constant intentional content is mistaken (Sect. 3). These confusions can be witnessed (...)
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  21. Concessionary Dualism and Physicalism.William Seager - 2010 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 67:217-237.
    The doctrine of physicalism can be roughly spelled out simply as the claim that the physical state of the world determines the total state of the world. However, since there are many forms of determination, a somewhat more precise characterization is needed. One obvious problem with the simple formulation is that the traditional doctrine of epiphenomenalism holds that the mental is determined by the physical (and epiphenomenalists need not assert that there are any properties except mental and physical ones, so (...)
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  22. Wittgenstein, Qualia, and the Inverted Spectrum.David G. Stern - 2010 - In Arley Moreno (ed.), Wittgenstein: Certeza? UNICAMP, Centro de Lógica, Epistemologia e História da Ciência.
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  23. Wittgenstein on the Inverted Spectrum.David G. Stern - 2010 - In Volker Munz, Klaus Puhl & Joseph Wang (eds.), Language and World Part Two: Signs, Minds, and Actions. Proceedings of the 32nd International Ludwig Wittgenstein-Symposium. Ontos Verlag.
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  24. Qualia and Introspection.Michael Beaton - 2009 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 16 (5):88-110.
    The claim that behaviourally undetectable inverted spectra are possible has been endorsed by many physicalists. I explain why this starting point rules out standard forms of scientific explanation for qualia. The modern ‘phenomenal concept strategy’ is an updated way of defending problematic intuitions like these, but I show that it cannot help to recover standard scientific explanation. I argue that Chalmers is right: we should accept the falsity of physicalism if we accept this problematic starting point. I further argue that (...)
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  25. Ned Block, Wittgenstein, and the Inverted Spectrum.John V. Canfield - 2009 - Philosophia 37 (4):691-712.
    In ‘Wittgenstein and Qualia’ Ned Block argues for the existence of inverted spectra and those ineffable things, qualia. The essence of his discussion is a would-be proof, presented through a series of pictures, of the possible existence of an inverted spectrum. His argument appeals to some remarks by Wittgenstein which, Block holds, commit the former to a certain ‘dangerous scenario’ wherein inverted spectra, and consequently qualia live and breath. I hold that a key premise of this proof is incoherent. Furthermore, (...)
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  26. On the Coherence of Inversion.Clayton Littlejohn - 2009 - Acta Analytica 24 (2):127-137.
    In this paper, I shall evaluate a strategy recently used to try to demonstrate the impossibility of behaviorally undetectable spectrum inversion. After showing that the impossibility proof proves too much, I shall identify where it goes wrong. In turn, I shall explain why someone attracted to functionalist and representationalist assumptions might rightly remain agnostic about the possibility of inversion.
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  27. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Inverted Spectrum.Timothy Schoettle - 2009 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (1):98-115.
    It is possible for a person and their environment to be physically identical each day and yet the representational content of their beliefs about color are inverted. Each day they utter the same words, ‘Wow! The colors of everything have switched again today.’ In uttering these words, they express a different proposition each day. This supports the view held by Reichenbach and Carnap that when it comes to representations of colored objects, relations of similarity and difference are fundamental. There are (...)
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  28. Fine-Grained Functionalism: Prospects for Defining Qualitative States.George Seli - 2009 - Philosophical Psychology 22 (6):765 – 783.
    Inverted spectrum and absent-qualia arguments have at least shown that giving the functional role of a qualitative state is challenging, as it is arguable that the same functional organization among one's inputs, outputs, and mental states can be preserved despite having one's qualia radically altered or eliminated. Sydney Shoemaker has proposed a promising strategy for the functionalist: defining a given qualitative state as being disposed to cause a belief that one is in such a state. Such beliefs would be different (...)
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  29. On an Argument for Functional Invariance.Michael Pelczar - 2008 - Minds and Machines 18 (3):373-377.
    The principle of functional invariance states that it is a natural law that conscious beings with the same functional organization have the same quality of conscious experience. A group of arguments in support of this principle are rejected, on the grounds that they establish at most only the weaker intra-subjective principle that any two stages in the life of a single conscious being that duplicate one another in terms of functional organization also duplicate one another in terms of quality of (...)
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  30. Representationalism and the Conceivability of Inverted Spectra.Brad Thompson - 2008 - Synthese 160 (2):203-213.
    Most philosophers who have endorsed the idea that there is such a thing as phenomenal content—content that supervenes on phenomenal character—have also endorsed what I call Standard Russellianism. According to Standard Russellianism, phenomenal content is Russellian in nature, and the properties represented by perceptual experiences are mind-independent physical properties. In agreement with Sydney Shoemaker [Shoemaker, S. (1994). Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 54 249–314], I argue that Standard Russellianism is incompatible with the possibility of spectrum inversion without illusion. One defense of (...)
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  31. Intentionalism and the Inverted Spectrum.Michael Watkins - 2008 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (3):299-313.
    Intentionalism holds that two experiences differ in their representational content if and only if they differ in phenomenal character. It is generally held that Intentionalism cannot allow for the possibility of spectrum inversion without systematic error, unless it abandons the idea that, for example, the qualitative character of color experience is inherited from the qualitative character of colors. The paper argues that the conjunction of all three -- the possibility of spectrum inversion, Intentionalism, and the inheritance thesis -- can be (...)
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  32. The Case for Qualia.Edmond Wright (ed.) - 2008 - MIT Press.
    Philosophical and scientific defenses of Indirect Realism and counterarguments to the attacks of qualiaphobes.
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  33. Wittgenstein and Qualia.Ned Block - 2007 - Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):73-115.
    endorsed one kind of inverted spectrum hypothesis and rejected another. This paper argues that the kind of inverted spectrum hypothesis that Wittgenstein endorsed is the thin end of the wedge that precludes a Wittgensteinian critique of the kind of inverted spectrum hypothesis he rejected. The danger of the dangerous kind is that it provides an argument for qualia, where qualia are contents of experiential states which cannot be fully captured in natural language. I will pinpoint the difference between the innocuous (...)
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  34. Black and White and the Inverted Spectrum.Justin Broackes - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (227):161-175.
    To the familiar idea of an undetectable spectrum inversion some have added the idea of inverted earth. This new combination of ideas is even harder to make coherent, particularly as it applies to a supposed inversion of black and white counteracted by an environmental switch of these. Black and white exhibit asymmetries in their connections with illumination, shadow and visibility, which rule out their being reversed. And since the most saturated yellow is light and the most saturated blue dark, yellow (...)
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  35. Supervenience, Physicalist Reduction and Inverted Qualia.Jonas Dagys - 2007 - Problemos 71:108-115.
    Funkcinës psichiniø savybiø analizës atveriama jø materialiojo ákûnijimo ávairovës galimybë verèia materialistiná monizmà sàmonës filosofijoje formuluoti ne psichiniø ir fiziniø savybiø tapatumo, bet pirmøjø pareities nuo antrøjø tezæ. Pareities sàvoka sàmonës filosofijoje iðreiðkia minimalius reikalavimus fizikalistinëms teorijoms – paneigus pareities fizikalizmà bûtø paneigtos ir stipresnës fizikalizmoversijos. Straipsnyje tyrinëjama fizikalizmo kritika paremta vadinamuoju kokybiø perkeitimo galimybës argumentu. Parodoma, kad, viena vertus, toks argumentas negali bûti atremtas nuorodomis áempirinius duomenis, nes svarstoma hipotetinë situacija numano jos empiriná nestebimumà; kita vertus, jei svarstoma situacija (...)
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  36. Phenomenal Properties as Dummy Properties.Richard J. Hall - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 135 (2):199 - 223.
    Can the physicalist consistently hold that representational content is all there is to sensory experience and yet that two perceivers could have inverted phenomenal spectra? Yes, if he holds that the phenomenal properties the inverts experience are dummy properties, not instantiated in the physical objects being perceived nor in the perceivers.
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  37. Hoffman’s “Proof” of the Possibility of Spectrum Inversion.Alex Byrne & David Hilbert - 2006 - Consciousness and Cognition 15 (1):48-50.
    Philosophers have devoted a great deal of discussion to the question of whether an inverted spectrum thought experiment refutes functionalism. (For a review of the inverted spectrum and its many philosophical applications, see Byrne, 2004.) If Ho?man is correct the matter can be swiftly and conclusively settled, without appeal to any empirical data about color vision (or anything else). Assuming only that color experiences and functional relations can be mathematically represented, a simple mathematical result.
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  38. Qualia Ain't in the Head.Alex Byrne & Michael Tye - 2006 - Noûs 40 (2):241-255.
    Qualia internalism is the thesis that qualia are intrinsic to their subjects: the experiences of intrinsic duplicates have the same qualia. Content externalism is the thesis that mental representation is an extrinsic matter, partly depending on what happens outside the head. 1 Intentionalism comes in strong and weak forms. In its weakest formulation, it is the thesis that representationally identical experiences of subjects have the same qualia. 2.
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  39. A Tale of Hoffman.C. L. Hardin & W. J. Hardin - 2006 - Consciousness and Cognition 15 (1):46-47.
  40. The Scrambling Theorem: A Simple Proof of the Logical Possibility of Spectrum Inversion.Donald D. Hoffman - 2006 - Consciousness and Cognition 15 (1):31-45.
    The possibility of spectrum inversion has been debated since it was raised by Locke and is still discussed because of its implications for functionalist theories of conscious experience . This paper provides a mathematical formulation of the question of spectrum inversion and proves that such inversions, and indeed bijective scramblings of color in general, are logically possible. Symmetries in the structure of color space are, for purposes of the proof, irrelevant. The proof entails that conscious experiences are not identical with (...)
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  41. The Scrambling Theorem Unscrambled: A Response to Commentaries.Donald D. Hoffman - 2006 - Consciousness and Cognition 15 (1):51-53.
  42. The Experience of Left and Right.Geoffrey Lee - 2006 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Perceptual Experience. Oxford University Press.
  43. Intentionalism and the Imaginability of the Inverted Spectrum.Eric Marcus - 2006 - Philosophical Quarterly 56 (224):321-339.
    There has been much written in recent years about whether a pair of subjects could have visual experiences that represented the colors of objects in their environment in precisely the same way, despite differing significantly in what it was like to undergo them, differing that is, in their qualitative character. The possibility of spectrum inversion has been so much debated1 in large part because of the threat that it would pose to the more general doctrine of Intentionalism, according to which (...)
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  44. Comments.Barry Maund - 2006 - Dialectica 60 (3):347-353.
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  45. Introduction.Vivian Mizrahi & Martine Nida-Rumelin - 2006 - Dialectica 60 (3):209-222.
    In November 2003, the University of Fribourg hosted a symposium on the ontology of colors. The invited participants included Justin Broackes, Alex Byrne, David Chalmers, Larry Hardin, Joe Levine and Barry Maund. The points of view presented by the participants in their thought-provoking papers were highly divergent. The presentation of each paper was followed by a long and intense discussion. Despite the divergence of the views proposed, the discussion during the symposium was highly focused. Several specific issues came up repeatedly (...)
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  46. The Frege-Schlick View.Sydney Shoemaker - 2006 - In Judith Jarvis Thomson (ed.), Content and Modality: Themes From the Philosophy of Robert Stalnaker. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 18-33.
  47. Shoemaker on Qualia, Phenomenal Properties and Spectrum Inversions.Timm Triplett - 2006 - Philosophia 34 (2):203-208.
    Sydney Shoemaker offers an account of color perception that attempts to do justice, within a functionalist framework, to the commonsense view that colors are properties of ordinary objects, to the existence of qualia, and to the possibility of spectrum inversions. Shoemaker posits phenomenal properties as dispositional properties of colored objects that explain how there can be intersubjective variation in the experience of a particular color. I argue that his account does not in fact allow for the description of a spectrum (...)
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  48. Human Zombies Are Metaphysically Impossible.William Robert Webster - 2006 - Synthese 151 (2):297-310.
    Chalmers has argued for a form of property dualism on the basis of the concept of a zombie , and the concept of the inverted spectrum. He asserts that these concepts show that the facts about consciousness, such as experience or qualia, are really further facts about our world, over and above the physical facts. He claims that they are the hard part of the mind-body issue. He also claims that consciousness is a fundamental feature of the world like mass, (...)
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  49. Colour Inversion Problems for Representationalism.Fiona MacPherson - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (1):127-152.
    In this paper I examine whether representationalism can account for various thought experiments about colour inversions. Representationalism is, at minimum, the view that, necessarily, if two experiences have the same representational content then they have the same phenomenal character. I argue that representationalism ought to be rejected if one holds externalist views about experiential content and one holds traditional exter- nalist views about the nature of the content of propositional attitudes. Thus, colour inver- sion scenarios are more damaging to externalist (...)
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  50. Color, Qualia, and Psychophysical Constraints on Equivalence of Color Experience.Vincent A. Billock & Brian H. Tsou - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (1):164-165.
    It has been suggested that difficult-to-quantify differences in visual processing may prevent researchers from equating the color experience of different observers. However, spectral locations of unique hues are remarkably invariant with respect to everything other than gross differences in preretinal and photoreceptor absorptions. This suggests a stereotyping of neural color processing and leads us to posit that minor differences in observer neurophysiology may be irrelevant to color experience.
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