Simple colours

Philosophy 61 (July):345-353 (1986)
[Colour is king in our innate quality space, but undistinguished in cosmic circles.] Most philosophers would agree with at least the second half of Quine's dictum. It is indeed on the general view wrong to believe that, as qualities, colours are extra-mentally actual in even the humblest role. Mind-independent material things have on the general view powers to cause sensations of red or blue, but if, in [sensations of red or blue], [red] and [blue] name qualities, we are not to believe that these qualities are possessed by things causing the sensations. My first thesis, defended in section 2, is that partly because we do count colours as eminent among qualities, we would on reflection want it to be true that some things have such qualities when they are not perceived. It would therefore be sad subsequently to discover the wrongness of believing that this is how things are. My second thesis, defended in sections 3 and 4, is that there is in fact no danger as yet of this kind of disappointment. So far, the philosophers have not shown that, if we believe that colour qualities exist as contents of experience, we ought not also to believe that things have these qualities when they are not perceived. One might of course deny that colour qualities exist even as contents of experience, so that the desire for them to be mind-independently exemplified evaporates on the realization that it lacks an intelligible object. Our pre-scientific concept of red, according to Armstrong, is, apart from being the concept of something falling under a determinable, [all blank or gap]
Keywords Color  Illusion  Metaphysics  Perception  Space
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819100051317
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