Perception, Color, and Realism

Erkenntnis 73 (1):19 - 40 (2010)
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One reason philosophers have addressed the metaphysics of color is its apparent relevance to the sciences concerned with color phenomena. In the light of such thinking, this paper examines a pairing of views that has received much attention: color physicalism and externalism about the content of perceptual experience. It is argued that the latter is a dubious conception of the workings of our perceptual systems. Together with flawed appeals to the empirical literature, it has led some philosophers to grant color physicalism a scientific legitimacy it does not merit. This discussion provides a useful entry into broader points pertaining to debates about color realism and the relationship between philosophical theories of color and the relevant empirical literatures. A sketch of a novel form of color realism is offered, as is an example that fills in some details of that sketch



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Wayne Wright
California State University, Long Beach