On the reality (and diversity) of objective colors: How color‐qualia space is a map of reflectance‐profile space

Philosophy of Science 74 (2):119-149 (2007)
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How, if at all, does the internal structure of human phenomenological color space map onto the internal structure of objective reflectance‐profile space, in such a fashion as to provide a useful and accurate representation of that objective feature space? A prominent argument (due to Hardin, among others) proposes to eliminate colors as real, objective properties of objects, on grounds that nothing in the external world (and especially not surface‐reflectance‐profiles) answers to the well‐known and quite determinate internal structure of human phenomenological color space. The present paper proposes a novel way to construe the objective space of possible reflectance profiles so that (1) its internal structure becomes evident, and (2) that structure’s homomorphism with the internal structure of human phenomenological color space becomes obvious. The path is thus reopened to salvage the objective reality of colors, in the same way that we preserved the objective reality of such features as temperature, pitch, and sourness—by identifying them with some objective feature recognized in modern physical theory.



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Citations of this work

Modeling Mental Qualities.Andrew Y. Lee - 2021 - The Philosophical Review 130 (2):263-209.
Objective Similarity and Mental Representation.Alistair M. C. Isaac - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):683-704.
A defense of holistic representationalism.Jacob Berger - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (2):161-176.
Prospects for timbre physicalism.Alistair M. C. Isaac - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (2):503-529.

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References found in this work

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.John Locke - 1979 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 169 (2):221-222.
Color realism and color science.Alex Byrne & David R. Hilbert - 2003 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (1):3-21.
Ways of coloring.Evan Thompson, A. Palacios & F. J. Varela - 1992 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15 (1):1-26.

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