Can the physicalist explain colour structure in terms of colour experience?

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (4):535 – 564 (2006)

Adam Pautz
Brown University
Physicalism about colour is the thesis that colours are identical with response-independent, physical properties of objects. I endorse the Argument from Structure against Physicalism about colour. The argument states that Physicalism cannot accommodate certain obvious facts about colour structure: for instance, that red is a unitary colour while purple is a binary colour, and that blue resembles purple more than green. I provide a detailed formulation of the argument. According to the most popular response to the argument, the Physicalist can accommodate colour structure by explaining it in terms of colour experience. I argue that this response fails. Along the way, I examine other interesting issues in the philosophy of colour and colour perception, for instance the relational structure of colour experience and the description theory of how colour names refer.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/00048400601079094
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 40,665
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

Naming and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 431-433.
Consciousness, Color, and Content.Michael Tye - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 113 (3):233 - 235.
A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1993 - Philosophical Perspectives 7 (3):429-440.

View all 48 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Significance Argument for the Irreducibility of Consciousness.Adam Pautz - 2017 - Philosophical Perspectives 31 (1):349-407.
Folk Core Beliefs About Color.Pendaran Roberts & Kelly Ann Schmidtke - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-21.

View all 17 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The 4th Dimension. Wittgenstein on Colour and Imagination.Tine Wilde - 2002 - In Christian Kanzian, Josef Quitterer & Edmund Runggaldier (eds.), Persons. An Interdisciplinary Approach. Papers of the 25th International Wittgenstein Symposium. Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society. pp. 284-286.
On Describing Colors.Bernard Harrison - 1967 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 10 (1-4):38-52.
Constraints on Colour Category Formation.Yasmina Jraissati, Elley Wakui, Lieven Decock & Igor Douven - 2012 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (2):171-196.
Manipulating Colour: Pounding an Almond.John Campbell - 2006 - In T. S. Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Perceptual Experience. Oxford University Press. pp. 31--48.
Colour Irrealism and the Formation of Colour Concepts.Jonathan Ellis - 2005 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (1):53-73.


Added to PP index

Total views
221 ( #28,091 of 2,242,820 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
23 ( #31,601 of 2,242,820 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature