The appearance and nature of color

Southern Journal of Philosophy 37 (2):227-252 (1999)
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The problem of the nature of color is typically put in terms of the following question about the intentional content of visual experiences: what’s the nature of the property we attribute to physical objects in virtue of our visual experiences of color? This problem has proven to be tenacious largely because it’s not clear what the constraints are for an answer. With no clarity about constraints, the proposed solutions range widely, the most common dividing into subjectivist views which hold that attributed colors are mental properties or mental events} and a variety of realist views, which hold that colors are properties of physical objects. These realist views, in turn, divide into views that hold that attributed colors are dispositions of physical objects to produce color experiences (dispositionalism),° nondispositional relations between objects and perceivers (the relational view)," physical properties of physical objects (physicalism),‘ or sui generis properties of physical objects (primitivism and impressionism).‘ I’ll examine a proposed constraint which Mark Johnston (1992) calls Revelation. According to Revelation, the appearance of color in our ordinary visual experience provides us with unqualified access to the nature of color. While every proposal about the nature of color must take a stand on how the..



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Peter Ross
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona