The Character of Color Terms : A Materialist View

The paper analyzes the meaning of color terms within the framework of Kaplan's character theory (which, when generalized to a treatment of hidden indexicality or dependence on the context world, can perfectly accommodate Kripke's notions of apriority and of (metaphysical) necessity). It explains this framework and why it might be fruitfully applied to color terms. Then it defends six theses: that (1) the predicate "is red" and (2) even the relation "appears red to" are hidden indexicals (i.e., have, as used in English, different extensions in different context worlds), that (3) the phenomenal, the comparative, and the epistemic reading of "appears red to" are not three different readings, but reflect the context world dependence of this term, that (4) the statement "x is red iff x would appear red to most English-speaking people under normal conditions" is a priori in English, but analytic only in one reading and not in another, and that these observations account well for the epistemology of color terms and allow us to be metaphysically conservative by claiming that our context world is presumably such that (5) the statement "x appears red to y iff x (appropriately) causes y to be in a certain (disjunctive) neural state N" is necessarily true and (6) the statement "x is red iff the reflectance spectrum of the surface of x is of some (disjunctive) kind R" is necessarily true as well.
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