'Demonstrative' colour concepts: Recognition versus preservation

Ratio 22 (2):234-249 (2009)
Arguments for and against the existence of demonstrative concepts of shades and shapes turn on the assumption that demonstrative concepts must be recognitional capacities. The standard argument for this assumption is based on the widely held view that concepts are those constituents of propositional attitudes that account for an attitude's inferential potential. Only if demonstrative concepts of shades are recognitional capacities, the standard argument goes, can they account for the inferential potential of demonstrative judgements about shades. Shades are conceived as colour universals. Shade a is different from shade b iff it is possible to distinguish a from b visually. In this paper I will argue that the standard argument is based on a mistaken view of inference. We can correctly draw inferences from a demonstrative judgement about something x , even if we are not able to recognise or re-identify the previously demonstrated x during our reasoning. We are prima facie entitled to rely on our preservative memory as retaining our initial demonstrative apprehension of x . The fact that preservative memory entitles us to assume sameness of referent over time is linguistically manifest in the use of anaphoric pronouns: if we can no longer recognise and demonstrate our original demonstratum, we can use anaphoric expressions to pick it up, thereby ensuring sameness of reference. ('That is a nice bird. Now it has vanished. So there is a nice bird that has just vanished.') Since preservation of the initial episode of apprehending x grounds our reasoning from demonstrative judgements, there is no longer a reason to require demonstrative concepts to be recognitional capacities. The standard argument does not get off the ground. 1.
Keywords Demonstrative Concepts
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9329.2009.00428.x
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