This paper illustrates what a philosophical and a logical investigation of colors amounts to in contrast to other kinds of color analysis such as physical, physiological, chemical, psychological or cultural analysis of colors. Neither a philosophical nor a logical analysis of colors is concerned with specific aspects of colors. Rather, these kinds of color analysis are concerned with what one might call “logical foundations of color theory”. I will illustrate this first by considering philosophical and then logical analysis of colors.
Some colors are compound colors, in the sense that they look complex: orange, violet, green..., by contrast to elemental colors like yellow or blue. In the chapter 3 of his Unterschungen zur Sinnespsychologie, Brentano purports to reconcile the claim that some colors are indeed intrinsically composed of others, with the claim that colors are impenetrable with respect to each other. His solution: phenomenal green is like a chessboard of blue and yellow squares. Only, such squares are so small that we (...) cannot discriminate between their location in perception. Consequently we get the impression of an homogeneous green extent. After having presented Brentano's solution, we argued that it is hardly compatible with Brentano's own conception of descriptive psychology, to the extent that it introduces in-existent objects (small yellow and blue squares), which cannot be perceived. We propose another solution to Brentano's puzzle, more in tune with his own assumptions, or so we argue. According to it, the yellow and the blue are in the green without being spatially in the green. A green extent has yellow and blue components, but these are not spatial components. This solution reconciles impenetrability (since the component colors are not localized) with the reality of compounds color. Besides, it has the advantage of taking the phenomenology of compounds colors, as Brentano's describes it, to the letter. Compound colors are what they seem: complex but not spatially complex. (shrink)
An introduction to the March, 2005 symposium “The Political Theory of Organizations: A Retrospective Examination of Christopher McMahon’s Authority and Democracy” held in San Francisco as part of the Society for Business Ethics Group Meeting at the Pacific Division Meetings of the American Philosophical Association.
This article examines the philosophical teaching of a colorful Oxford alumnus and Roman Catholic convert, Christopher Davenport, also known as Franciscus à Sancta Clara or Francis Coventry. At the peak of Puritan power during the English Interregnum and after five of his Franciscan confrères had perished for their missionary work, our author tried boldly to claim modern cosmology and atomism as the unrecognized fruits of medieval Scotism. His hope was to revive English pride in the golden age of medieval (...) Oxford and to defend English Franciscans as more legitimately patriotic and scientifically progressive than Puritan millenarians. (shrink)
The analogy between colors and values is strongly interlinked with the idea that these properties are by nature dispositions or response-dependent properties. Indeed, that colors are essentially visible, and values are inherently motivational, cries out for a dispositional or a response-dependent account. Recently, Primitivism has challenged the viability of the dispositional account of colors, taking the apple, for instance, to be “gloriously, perfectly, and primitively red.” Unsurprisingly, the attack on the dispositional account of colors has found a moral analogue in (...) the view that values are sui generis irreducibly primitive properties. The question this article addresses is whether given Primitivism the analogy between colors and values is preserved; or in other words, whether Primitivism breaks the bond between the dispositional account and the analogy between colors and values. (shrink)
I examine the metaphysical issue of the nature of color. I argue that there are two distinct ranges of colors, namely, physical colors, which are disjunctive monadic physical properties of physical objects, and mental colors, which are properties of neural processes. ;A pair of claims provide the motivation for subjectivist and dispositionalist proposals about the nature of color, proposals which I reject. The first claim holds that a description of colors according to our ordinary experience of color provides a specification (...) of some aspects of the nature of color. The second holds that our ordinary experience of color provides access to the nature of color. ;In chapter 1, I argue that visual experiences have mental colors, neural properties which importantly determine our color categories. However, I reject C. L. Hardin's and James A. McGilvray's arguments for the subjectivist claim that the colors we attribute to physical objects are mental colors. ;In chapter 2, I show that Paul A. Boghossian and J. David Velleman's arguments in support of subjectivism rely on the assumption that visual experience provides unqualified access to the nature of color. I argue, however, that objections to their projectivism about color perception provide strong reasons to reject subjectivism as well as their assumption that visual experience provides unqualified access to the nature of color. ;In chapters 3 and 4, I examine Mark Johnston's and Christopher Peacocke's dispositionalist proposals about the nature of physical colors, which are founded on the claim that ordinary visual experience provides access to an aspect of the nature of color. I undercut dispositionalism by rejecting their arguments for the claim that ordinary visual experience provides such access. ;In chapter 5, I show that Evan Thompson's proposal that the colors of objects are relations between properties of perceivers and objects assumes that a description of color according to our ordinary experience specifies some aspects of the nature of color. I reject this assumption by distinguishing between mental color and physical color. I conclude that rather than specifying the nature of color, descriptions of colors according to our ordinary experience merely serve to fix the reference of color terms. (shrink)
The untimely passing of Reverend Canon Dr Christopher Newell, AM, came as a shock to many in the bioethics world. As well as an obituary, this article notes a number of important themes in his work, and provides a select bibliography. Christopher's major contribution to this field is that he was one of a handful of scholars who made disability not only an acceptable area of bioethics—indeed a vital, central, fertile area of enquiry. Crucially Christopher emphasised that (...) where we do ethics is actually in everyday life—while we mourn his passing, his rich work and example will continue to inspire bioethical inquiry. (shrink)
This paper is about Christopher Wren’s engravings for Thomas Willis’ The Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves of 1664. It is a study in the intersection of medicine and art in 17th century Britain. Willis, an eminent English physician and anatomist, was a major figure in the development of modern neurology, and The Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves was his most famous and influential book. Wren was Willis’ assistant and medical artist. I discuss the visual strategies employed by (...) Wren to present their research and frame it as genuine knowledge. (shrink)
In this interview, Christopher Norris discusses a wide range of issues having to do with postmodernism, deconstruction and other controversial topics of debate within present-day philosophy and critical theory. More specifically he challenges the view of deconstruction as just another offshoot of the broader postmodernist trend in cultural studies and the social sciences. Norris puts the case for deconstruction as continuing the 'unfinished project of modernity' and—in particular—for Derrida's work as sustaining the values of enlightened critical reason in various (...) spheres of thought from epistemology to ethics, sociology and politics. Along the way he addresses a number of questions that have lately been raised with particular urgency for teachers and educationalists, among them the revival of creationist doctrine and the idea of scientific knowledge as a social, cultural, or discursive construct. In this context he addresses the 'science wars' or the debate between those who uphold t. (shrink)
A widely held view on color cognition is that it is structured by a set of color fundamentals. Three sorts of evidence may be invoked in favor of such a ‘foundational’ approach to color cognition: physiological, phenomenal and lexical. This paper focuses on the lexical evidence, which draws from a predominant view in color categorization, the Basic color terms theory (BCTT). It argues that the BCTT does not consist in a foundational approach to color cognition and does not provide such (...) evidence. (shrink)
Professor Christopher Stead was Ely Professor of Divinity from 1971 until his retirement in 1980 and one of the great contributors to the Oxford Patristic Conferences for many years. In this paper I reflect on his work in Patristics, and I attempt to understand how his interests diverged from the other major contributors in the same period, and how they were formed by his philosophical milieu and the spirit of the age. As a case study to illustrate and diagnose (...) his approach, I shall focus on a debate between Stead and Rowan Williams about the significance of the word idios in Arius's theology (in the course of which I also make some suggestions of my own about the issue). (shrink)
The Dangerous Book for Boys Abstract: Seventeenth and eighteenth century discussions of the senses are often thought to contain a profound truth: some perceptible properties are secondary qualities, dispositions to produce certain sorts of experiences in perceivers. In particular, colors are secondary qualities: for example, an object is green iff it is disposed to look green to standard perceivers in standard conditions. After rebutting Boghossian and Velleman’s argument that a certain kind of secondary quality theory is viciously circular, we discuss (...) three main lines of argument for the secondary quality theory. The first is inspired by an intuitively compelling picture of perception articulated by Reid; the second is that the secondary quality theory is a conceptual truth; the third line of argument is presented in Johnston’s influential paper ‘How to speak of the colors’. We conclude that all these arguments fail, and that the secondary quality theory is unmotivated. Keywords: color, secondary quality, disposition, vision, perception.. (shrink)
How, if at all, does the internal structure of human phenomenological color space map onto the internal structure of objective reflectance‐profile space, in such a fashion as to provide a useful and accurate representation of that objective feature space? A prominent argument (due to Hardin, among others) proposes to eliminate colors as real, objective properties of objects, on grounds that nothing in the external world (and especially not surface‐reflectance‐profiles) answers to the well‐known and quite determinate internal structure of human phenomenological (...) color space. The present paper proposes a novel way to construe the objective space of possible reflectance profiles so that (1) its internal structure becomes evident, and (2) that structure’s homomorphism with the internal structure of human phenomenological color space becomes obvious. The path is thus reopened to salvage the objective reality of colors, in the same way that we preserved the objective reality of such features as temperature, pitch, and sourness—by identifying them with some objective feature recognized in modern physical theory. (shrink)
The Hurvich-Jameson (H-J) opponent-process network offers a familiar account of the empirical structure of the phenomenological color space for humans, an account with a number of predictive and explanatory virtues. Its successes form the bulk of the existing reasons for suggesting a strict identity between our various color sensations on the one hand, and our various coding vectors across the color-opponent neurons in our primary visual pathways on the other. But anti-reductionists standardly complain that the systematic parallels discovered by the (...) H-J network are just empirical correspondences, constructed post facto, with no predictive or explanatory purchase on the intrinsic characters of qualia proper. The present paper disputes that complaint, by illustrating that the H-J model yields some novel and unappreciated predictions, and some novel and unappreciated explanations, concerning the qualitative characters of a considerable variety of color sensations possible for human experience, color sensations that normal people have almost certainly never had before, color sensations whose accurate descriptions in ordinary language appear semantically ill-formed or even self-contradictory. Specifically, these "impossible" color sensations are activation-vectors (across our opponent-process neurons) that lie inside the space of neuronally possible activation-vectors, but outside the central 'color spindle' that confines the familiar range of sensations for possible objective colors. These extra-spindle chimerical-color sensations correspond to no reflective color that you will ever see objectively displayed on a physical object. But the H-J model both predicts their existence and explains their highly anomalous qualitative characters in some detail. It also suggests how to produce these rogue sensations by a simple procedure made available in the latter half of this paper. The relevant color plates will allow you to savor these sensations for yourself. (shrink)
Determinants of synesthetic color choice for the Japanese logographic script, Kanji, were studied. The study investigated how synesthetic colors for Kanji characters, which are usually acquired later in life than other types of graphemes in Japanese language , are influenced by linguistic properties such as phonology, orthography, and meaning. Of central interest was a hypothesized generalization process from synesthetic colors for graphemes, learned prior to acquisition of Kanji, to Kanji characters learned later. Results revealed that color choices for Kanji characters (...) depend on meaning and phonological information. Some results suggested that colors are generalized from Hiragana characters and Arabic digits to Kanji characters via phonology and meaning, respectively. Little influence of orthographic information was observed. The findings and approach of this study contributes to a clarification of the mechanism underlying grapheme-color synesthesia, especially in terms of its relationship to normal language processing. (shrink)
According to color realism, object colors are mind-independent properties that cover surfaces or permeate volumes of objects. In recent years, some color scientists and a growing number of philosophers have opposed this view on the grounds that realism about color cannot accommodate the apparent unitary/binary structure of the hues. For example, Larry Hardin asserts, the unitary-binary structure of the colors as we experience them corresponds to no known physical structure lying outside nervous systems that is causally involved in the perception (...) of color. This makes it very difficult to subscribe to a color realism that is supposed to be about red, green, blue, black, and white—that is, the colors with which we are perceptually acquainted.1 Similarly, Evan Thompson says. (shrink)
Color subjectivists claim that, despite appearances to the contrary, the world external to the mind is colorless. However, in giving an account of color perception, subjectivists about the nature of perceived color must address the nature of perceived spatial location as well. The argument here will be that subjectivists’ problems with coordinating the metaphysics of perceived color and perceived location render color perception implausibly mysterious. Consequently, some version of color realism, the view that colors are (physical, dispositional, functional, sui generis, (...) or some other) properties of physical objects, is correct. (shrink)
Realists about color, be they dispositionalists or physicalists, agree on the truth of the following claim: (R) x is red iff x is disposed to look red under standard conditions. The disagreement is only about whether to identify the colors with the relevant dispositions, or with their categorical bases. This is a question about the representational content of color experience: What kind of properties do color experiences ascribe to objects? It has been argued (for instance by Boghossian and Velleman, 1991) (...) that truths like (R) cannot be used in an account of the colors as they would result in ‚circular’, and therefore empty, contents. It has also been argued (for instance by Harman, 1996) that switching to an account of color in terms of a functional account of color sensations would result in a circular, and therefore empty, account. In this paper, I defend a realist account of color in terms of a (non-reductive) functional account of color sensations. Such an account of sensations has been suggested by Pagin (2000), and it can be applied to color sensations without the resulting account of the colors themselves being circular or empty. I argue that the so-called transparency of experience does not provide any argument against such an account. I also argue that on such an account, the issue of physicalism vs. dispositionalism boils down to the question of the modal profile of the color concepts. (shrink)
We show that true colors as defined by Chevreul (1839) produce unsuspected simultaneous brightness induction effects on their immediate grey backgrounds when these are placed on a darker (black) general background surrounding two spatially separated configurations. Assimilation and apparent contrast may occur in one and the same stimulus display. We examined the possible link between these effects and the perceived depth of the color patterns which induce them as a function of their luminance contrast. Patterns of square-shaped inducers of a (...) single color (red, green, blue, yellow, or grey) were placed on background fields of a lighter and a darker grey, presented on a darker screen. Inducers were always darker on one side of the display and brighter on the other in a given trial. The intensity of the grey backgrounds varied between trials only. This permitted generating four inducer luminance contrasts, presented in random order, for each color. Background fields were either spatially separated or consisted of a single grey field on the black screen. Experiments were run under three environmental conditions: dark-adaptation, daylight, and rod-saturation after exposure to bright light. In a first task, we measured probabilities of contrast, assimilation, and no effect in a three-alternative forced-choice procedure (background appears brighter on the ‘left’, on the ‘right’ or the ‘same’). Visual adaptation and inducer contrast had no significant influence on the induction effects produced by colored inducers. Achromatic inducers produced significantly stronger contrast effects after dark-adaptation, and significantly stronger assimilation in daylight conditions. Grouping two backgrounds into a single one was found to significantly decrease probabilities of apparent contrast. Under the same conditions, we measured probabilities of the inducers to be perceived as nearer to the observer inducers. These, as predicted by Chevreul’s law of contrast, were determined by the luminance contrast of the inducers only, with significantly higher probabilities of brighter inducers to be seen as nearer, and a marked asymmetry between effects produced by inducers of opposite sign. Implications of these findings for theories which attempt to link simultaneous induction effects to the relative depth of object surfaces in the visual field are discussed. (shrink)
Determinants of synesthetic color choice for Japanese phonetic characters were studied in six Japanese synesthetes. The study used Hiragana and Katakana characters, which represent the same set of syllables although their visual forms are dissimilar. From a palette of 138 colors, synesthetes selected a color corresponding to each character. Results revealed that synesthetic color choices for Hiragana characters and those for their Katakana counterparts were remarkably consistent, indicating that color selection depended on character-related sounds and not visual form. This Hiragana–Katakana (...) invariance cannot be regarded as the same phenomenon as letter case invariance, usually reported for English grapheme-color synesthesia, because Hiragana and Katakana characters have different identities whereas upper and lower case letters have the same identity. This involvement of phonology suggests that cross-activation between an inducer brain region and that of the concurrent area in grapheme-color synesthesia is mediated by higher order cortical processing areas. (shrink)
I defend a version of color subjectivism — that colors are sortals for certain neural events — by arguing against a sophisticated form of color objectivism and by showing how a subjectivist can legitimately explain the phenomenal fact that colors seem to be properties of external objects.
When we open our eyes, the world seems full of colored opaque objects, light sources, and transparent volumes. One historically popular view, _eliminativism_, is that the world is not in this respect as it appears to be: nothing has any color. Color _realism_, the denial of eliminativism, comes in three mutually exclusive varieties, which may be taken to exhaust the space of plausible realist theories. Acccording to _dispositionalism_, colors are _psychological_ dispositions: dispositions to produce certain kinds of visual experiences. According (...) to both _primitivism_ and _physicalism_, colors are not psychological dispositions; they differ in that primitivism says that no reductive analysis of the colors is possible, whereas physicalism says that they are physical properties. This paper is a defense of physicalism about color. (shrink)
We examine the pros and cons of color realism, exposing some desiderata on a theory of color: the theory should render colors as scientifically legitimate and correctly individuated, and it should explain how we have veridical color experiences. We then show that these desiderata can by met by treating colors as properties of the special sciences. According to our view, some of the major as properties of the special sciences. According to our view, some of the major disputes in the (...) literature about color -- anti-realism versus dispositionalism versus reductionism -- are not well-founded at this stage of scientific inquiry. Our account of color is designed to be of use in the sciences and as such is driven largely by considerations of what the various sciences need in order to proceed appropriately. We argue that a scientific theory of colors need not regard colors as anything more than high-level statistical constructs built out of correlations between color experiences and other phenomena. (shrink)
This “open letter” to Christopher Boorse is a response to his influential naturalist analysis of disease from the perspective of linguistic-analytic value theory. The key linguistic-analytic point against Boorse is that, although defining disease value free, he continue to use the term with clear evaluative connotations. A descriptivist analysis of disease would allow value-free definition consistently with value-laden use: but descriptivism fails when applied to mental disorder because it depends on shared values whereas the values relevant to mental disorders (...) are highly diverse. A part-function analysis, similarly, although initially persuasive for physical disorders, fails with the psychotic mental disorders because these, characteristically, involve disturbances of the rationality of the person as a whole. The difficulties encountered in applying naturalism to mental disorders point, linguistic-analytically, to the possibility that there is, after all, an evaluative element of meaning, deeply hidden but still logically operative, in the concept of disease. (shrink)
I propose a description of one aspect of the philosophical problem about the ontology of colors by formulating and motivating six plausible premises that seem to be hard to deny in isolation but that are jointly incoherent. I briefly sketch a solution and comment on the views presented in this volume from the perspective of the puzzle.
Recent research on synesthesia has focused on how the condition may depend on selective attention, but there is a lack of consensus on whether selective attention is required to bind colors to their grapheme inducers. In the present study, we used a novel change detection paradigm to examine whether synesthetic colors guide the subject’s attention to the location of the inducer or whether selective attention is required to act as a unique feature during visual search. If synesthetic experiences are elicited (...) by inducers without selective attention, then a target that is distinct from the distractors by virtue of its unique synesthetic color should capture attention. This should lead to efficiency in the search that is analogous to the efficiency in searches involving unique display colors. If, however, an inducer does not elicit a synesthetic color until the subject selectively attends to it, then the search should be as inefficient as for control subjects. We found that, not only does synesthesia not provide an advantage in complicated visual search tasks, it offers a slight disadvantage, supporting the re-entrant processing hypothesis about the mechanism underlying synesthesia. (shrink)
Paul Grice warned that ‘the nature of conventional implicature needs to be examined before any free use of it, for explanatory purposes, can be indulged in’ (1978/1989: 46). Christopher Potts heeds this warning, brilliantly and boldly. Starting with a definition drawn from Grice’s few brief remarks on the subject, he distinguishes conventional implicature from other phenomena with which it might be confused, identifies a variety of common but little-studied kinds of expressions that give rise to it, and develops a (...) formal, multidimensional semantic framework for systematically capturing its distinctive character. The book is a virtuosic blend of astute descriptive observations and technically sophisticated formulations. Fortunately for the technically unsophisticated reader, the descriptive observations can be appreciated on their own. (shrink)
It is a common assumption among philosophers of perception that phenomenal colors are exhaustively characterized by the three phenomenal dimensions of the color solid: hue, saturation and lightness. The hue of a color is its redness, blueness or yellowness, etc. The saturation of a color refers to the strength of its hue in relation to gray. The lightness of a color determines its relation to black and white. In this paper, I argue that the phenomenology of shadows forces us to (...) consider illumination as an additional dimension of phenomenal colors. For this purpose, I will first introduce two different interpretations of shadow-experiences, which Chalmers has called the simple and the complex interpretations, and show that they both fail to account for important phenomenal facts about shadow-experiences. I will then introduce my own alternative interpretation based on the idea that illumination is a dimension of phenomenal colors and explain how it can account for these facts. (shrink)
Color experience is structured. Some ?unique? colors (red, green, yellow, and blue) appear as ?pure,? or containing no trace of any other color. Others can be considered as a mixture of these colors, or as ?binary colors.? According to a widespread assumption, this unique/binary structure of color experience is to be explained in terms of neurophysiological structuring (e.g., by opponent processes) and has no genuine explanatory basis in the physical stimulus. The argument from structure builds on these assumptions to argue (...) that colors are not properties of surfaces and that color experiences are neural processes without environmental counterparts. We reconsider the argument both in terms of its logic and in the light of recent models in vision science which point at environment-involving patterns that may be at the basis of the unique/binary structure of color experience. We conclude that, in the light of internal and external problems which arise for it, the argument from structure fails. (shrink)
In his recent book, Aquinas and the Ship of Theseus, Christopher Brown has argued that the metaphysics of St. Thomas is preferable to contemporary analyticviews because it can solve the “problem of material constitution” (PMC) without requiring us to relinquish any of the common-sense beliefs that generate that problem. In this critical study, I show that in the case of both substances and aggregates, Brown’s Aquinas endorses views that are extremely implausible. Consequently, even if it is granted that the (...) solutions to the PMC fall right out of his views, it is still not clear that this gives us reason to prefer his ontology to its competitors. I also consider Brown’s take on the status of the human being after death. (shrink)
Christopher Bennett has argued that state support of conjugal relationships can be founded on the unique contribution such relationships make to the autonomy of their participants by providing them with various forms of recognition and support unavailable elsewhere. I argue that, in part because a long history of interaction between two people who need each other’s validation tends to produce less meaningful responses over time, long-term conjugal relationships are unlikely to provide autonomy-enhancing support to their participants. To the extent (...) that intimate relationships can provide a unique form of reciprocal support, Bennett fails to show that couples have an advantage over multiple-partner arrangements in doing so. (shrink)
Categories can affect our perception of the world, rendering between-category differences more salient than within-category ones. Across many studies, such categorical perception has been observed for the basic-level categories of one's native language. Other research points to categorical distinctions beyond the basic level, but it does not demonstrate CP for such distinctions. Here we provide such a demonstration. Specifically, we show CP in English speakers for the non-basic distinction between “warm” and “cool” colors, claimed to represent the earliest stage of (...) color lexicon evolution. Notably, the advantage for discriminating colors that straddle the warm–cool boundary was restricted to the right visual field—the same behavioral signature previously observed for basic-level categories. This pattern held in a replication experiment with increased power. Our findings show that categorical distinctions beyond the basic-level repertoire of one's native language are psychologically salient and may be spontaneously accessed during normal perceptual processing. (shrink)
A relatively detailed review (~ 4000 words) of Christopher Mole's (2010) book "Attention is Cognitive Unison". I suggest that Mole makes a good case against many types of reductivist accounts of attention, using the right kind of methodology. Yet, I argue that his adverbialist theory is not the best articulation of the crucial anti-reductivist insight. The distinction between adverbial and process-first phenomena he draws remains unclear, anti-reductivist process theories can escapte his arguments, and finally I provide an argument for (...) why no personal level adverbialism can provide a complete and unified theory of attention. Despite my disagreements, I have learned a lot from engaging with Mole's book. It's a central contribution to the new philosophical literature on attention. (shrink)
In previous work, I have defended a non-standard version of intentionalism about perceptual experience. According to the doxastic account, visual experience is a peculiar kind of belief: belief with “phenomenal” or looks-content. In this paper, I investigate what happens if this account of experience is combined with another idea I find very plausible: That the colors are to be understood in terms of color experience. I argue that the resulting phenomenal account of color experience captures everything essential to what has (...) been called the “natural concept of color”. And I show that circularity worries are not aggravated by adopting this account instead of more standard forms of intentionalism—rather, they can be dispelled along the same lines. (shrink)
Several religious traditions of South Asia understand that mental activities produce colors (leśyās) that are associated with the mind or with the soul itself. In Jain texts, there are three theories about how leśyās are produced: that leśyās are a product (parināma) (1) of the passions (kasāyas), (2) of vibrations of the soul (yoga), and (3) of all eight varieties of karmas. The views of various Śvetāmbara and Digambara commentators regarding leśyās are compared.