How representationalism can account for the phenomenal significance of illumination

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 8 (4):551-572 (2009)
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Abstract

In this paper, I defend a representationalist account of the phenomenal character of color experiences. Representationalism, the thesis that phenomenal character supervenes on a certain kind of representational content, so-called phenomenal content, has been developed primarily in two different ways, as Russellian and Fregean representationalism. While the proponents of Russellian and Fregean representationalism differ with respect to what they take the contents of color experiences to be, they typically agree that colors are exhaustively characterized by the three dimensions of the color solid: hue, saturation, and lightness. I argue that a viable version of representationalism needs to renounce this restriction to three dimensions and consider illumination to be a genuine phenomenal dimension of color. My argument for this thesis falls into two parts. I first consider the phenomenon of color constancy in order to show that neither Russellian nor Fregean representationalism can do justice to the phenomenal significance of local illumination. I subsequently formulate a version of representationalism that accounts for illumination by taking it as a phenomenal dimension of color.

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Rene Jagnow
University of Georgia

Citations of this work

Colour Constancy, Illumination, and Matching.Will Davies - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (4):540-562.
Colour Constancy and Fregean Representationalism.Boyd Millar - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (1):219-231.
Are Color Experiences Representational?Todd Ganson - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (1):1-20.

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