Acta Analytica 35 (1):101-127 (2020)

In this article, I argue that popular explanatory frameworks in perceptual psychology suggest the truth of color realism. I focus on perceptual judgments and their evidential basis: namely perceptual representation. I first draw a distinction between two sorts of normativities with respect to which we can evaluate representational capacities and systems: biological and psychological normativities. The former is defined in terms of evolutionary fitness, and the latter in terms of representational accuracy. Generally, representational systems achieve psychological and biological success hand in hand, but in special circumstances, a representational system can be such that it serves the organism best while not generally furnishing the organism with accurate representations. I argue in this essay that an explanation how and why our ancestors developed color vision that cleaves its biological success conditions from its psychological success conditions cannot be given unless we are prepared to say the same about the visual perception of distance and other geometrical features of the world. Moreover, it is difficult to see how the anti-realist could begin to specify psychological success conditions for color representations. Hence, we ought to accept the biological utility of color vision as evidence that it is typically representationally successful, and regard our perceptual judgments about color as generally true.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s12136-019-00391-3
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 54,431
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception.Marc H. Bornstein - 1980 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 39 (2):203-206.
Knowledge and the Flow of Information.F. Dretske - 1989 - Trans/Form/Ação 12:133-139.
Color Realism and Color Science.Alex Byrne & David R. Hilbert - 2003 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (1):3-21.
Disjunctivism and Perceptual Psychology.Tyler Burge - 2005 - Philosophical Topics 33 (1):1-78.
Physicalist Theories of Color.Paul A. Boghossian & J. David Velleman - 1991 - Philosophical Review 100 (January):67-106.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Color Realism: True or Not?Z. G. ma - 2017 - Asian Research Journal of Arts and Social Sciences 4 (4):01-05.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Are Color Experiences Representational?Todd Ganson - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (1):1-20.
Color Experience: A Semantic Theory.Mohan Matthen - 2010 - In Jonathan Cohen & Mohan Matthen (eds.), Color Ontology and Color Science. MIT Press. pp. 67--90.
Perception, Color, and Realism.Wayne Wright - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (1):19 - 40.
Color Relationalism and Relativism.Alex Byrne & David R. Hilbert - 2017 - Topics in Cognitive Science 9 (1):172-192.
Color Realism: True or Not?Z. G. ma - 2017 - Asian Research Journal of Arts and Social Sciences 4 (4):01-05.
Reflectance Physicalism About Color: The Story Continues.Zoltan Jakab - 2012 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 12 (3):463-488.
The Biological Significance of Color.Birgitta Dresp & Keith Langley - 2009 - In D. Skusevich & P. Matikas (eds.), Color Perception: Physiology, Processes and Analysis. Nova Science Publishers. pp. 110--115.
Clarifying the Problem of Color Realism.Barry Maund - 2003 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (1):40-41.
The Empirical Basis of Color Perception.R. Beau Lotto & Dale Purves - 2002 - Consciousness and Cognition 11 (4):609-629.


Added to PP index

Total views
27 ( #375,846 of 2,374,844 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #161,513 of 2,374,844 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes