Synthese 104 (1):1-32 (1995)

Authors
Evan Thompson
University of British Columbia
Abstract
b>. Computational models of colour vision assume that the biological function of colour vision is to detect surface reflectance. Some philosophers invoke these models as a basis for 'externalism' about perceptual content (content is distal) and 'objectivism' about colour (colour is surface reflectance). In an earlier article (Thompson et al. 1992), I criticized the 'computational objectivist' position on the basis of comparative colour vision: There are fundmental differences among the colour vision of animals and these differences do not converge on the detection of any single type of environmental property. David R. Hilbert (1992) has recently defended computational objectivism against my 'comparative argument;' his arguments are based on the externalist approach to perceptual content originally developed by Mohan Matthen (1988) and on the computationally inspired theory of the evolutionary basis for trichromacy developed by Roger N. Shepard (1990). The present article provides a reply to Hilbert with extensive criticism of both Matthen's and Shepard's theories. I argue that the biological function of colour vision is not to detect surface reflectance, but to provide a set of perceptual categories that can apply to objects in a stable way in a variety of conditions. Comparative research indicates that both the perceptual categories and the distal stimuli will differ according to the animal and its visual ecology; therefore externalism and objectivism must be rejected
Keywords Color  Epistemology  Perception  Science  Vision
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DOI 10.1007/BF01063672
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References found in this work BETA

The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception.Marc H. Bornstein - 1980 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 39 (2):203-206.

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Citations of this work BETA

Evolving Perceptual Categories.Cailin O’Connor - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (5):110-121.
Color Realism Redux.Alex Byrne & David R. Hilbert - 2003 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (1):52-59.
Is Colour Composition Phenomenal?Vivian Mizrahi - 2009 - In D. Skusevich & P. Matikas (eds.), Color Perception: Physiology, Processes and Analysis. Nova Science Publishers.
Burge on Perception and Sensation.Lauren Olin - 2016 - Synthese 193 (5):1479-1508.

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