The world as we experience it is full of colour. This book defends the radical thesis that no physical object has any of the colours we experience it as having. The author provides a unified account of colour that shows why we experience the illusion and why the illusion is not to be dispelled but welcomed. He develops a pluralist framework of colour-concepts in which other, more sophisticated concepts of colour are introduced to supplement the simple concept that is presupposed (...) in our ordinary colour experience. The discussion draws on philosophical and scientific literature, both historical and modern, but it is not technical, and will appeal to a broad range of philosophers, cognitive scientists and historians of science. (shrink)
Parts I and II of 'Conflicting Appearances, Necessity and the Irreducibility of Propositions about Colours' review the argument from 'conflicting appearances' for the view that nothing has any one colour. I take further a well-known criticism of the argument made by Austin and Burnyeat. In Part III I undertake the task of positive construction, offering a theory of what it is that all things coloured a particular colour have in common. I end, in Part IV, by arguing that the resulting (...) 'colour phenomenalism', rather than physicalism, is required to give a satisfactory account of the necessity of Wittgenstein's 'puzzle propositions' about colour. (shrink)
Sorensen’s celebrated problem about the eclipse of Near and Far is given a solution in which what is seen is Far, silhouetted. Near cannot be seen, as it is in the shadow of Far. A silhouette is a shadow. The so–called Yale Puzzle is a linguistic confusion.
_Philosophical Propositions_ is a fresh, up to date, and reliable introduction to philosophical problems. It takes seriously the need for philosophy to deal with definitive and statable propositions, such as God, certainty, time, personal identity, the mind/body problem, free will and determinism, and the meaning of life.
This chapter focuses on the incompatibility of afterimage colors. Several quasilogical, semantic, and metaphysical questions having to do with incompatibility come up in color theory, and the problem is so complicated and fragile that it is argued here that, despite some marvelous work on the topic, the problem remains to be sorted out. Every naive subject who encounters afterimages without prejudice has agreed that they have color; this is mentioned here because it is the initial and also the commonsense view. (...) However, accepting that a physical account of color incompatibility is right for physical colors makes an account for the incompatibility of afterimage colors improbable. One can provide a physiological account based on opponent processes, but this will deliver only a contingent truth or a necessity relative only to a particular retinal structure and postretinal neural coding. (shrink)
_Life and Death_ brings together philosophical and literary works representing the many ways--metaphysical, scientific, analytic, phenomenological, literary--in which philosophers and others have reflected on questions about life and death.
Many philosophers have believed that colours and the other qualia ofexperience are simples and that colour terms are unanalysable. Colour termsare unanalysable because colours are simples, colours are known to be simple because colour terms are unanalysable. I shall try to show that things are not as simple as this. Nothing in the paper will depend on the general Wittgensteinian thesis of the relativity of simplicity. The thought I shallpursue is the more specific one that the philosophers who have believed (...) in the simplicity of colours have been the victims of certain false images of what the relevant kind of simplicity is like, and that when these images are destroyed the belief is clearly false. Most importantly they have confused logical simplicity with visual uniformity, the kind of simplicity which could intelligibly be attributed to coloured patches or expanses of colour andthe kind of simplicity which can be attributed to colours. So the paper is concerned with the destruction of spatial and material images which distort our understanding of concepts which are neither spatial nor material ones.The wider epistemological implications of the non-existence of simple ideas of colours will not be discussed. (shrink)
Dans la première méditation, Descartes a conclu, en regard des songes, « qu'il n'y a point d'indices concluants, ni de marques assez certaines par où l'on puisse distinguer nettement la veille d'avec la sommeil [...] » . À la fin de la sixième méditation, il a conclu qu'il y a de tels indices, mais qu'on a besoin de la garantie de Dieu pour savoir si ces indices sont réellement des indices de la veille. Cottingham a proposé une objection générale contre (...) tels indices de la veille: On peut rêver cet indice. Selon les raisonnements de Cottingham, il s'agit de l'existence de l'indice. Or, chez Leibniz et Descartes il ne s'agit pas de cela, mais il est question de savoir si l'indice est vraiment un indice de la veille. La prétention que l'indice puisse être présent en songe fait une pétition de principe. Notre examen des indices que Leibniz et Berkeley ont proposés révèle cette pétition. (shrink)
We wish to defend Jonathan Westphal's view that colour is complex against a recent ‘phenomenological’ criticism of Eric Rubenstein. There is often thought to be a conflict between two kinds of determinants of colour, physical and phenomenal. On the one hand there are the complex physical facts about colour, such as the determination of a surface colour by an absorption spectrum. There is also, however, the fact that the apparently simple phenomenological quality of what is seen is a function of (...) the physiological and psychological state of the viewing subject. Should the physical trump the phenomenal, or is it the other way round? Much of the phenomenal variation of colour, however, is explained by physical facts. There is a physics and a psychophysics of colour. Colours appear, to the colour scientists at least, to be in some sense objective, a sense not explained by the view that they are purely phenomenal. Taking physics and psychophysics into account will mean rejecting the claim that the content of what our concepts of colours are concepts of is exhausted by the purely phenomenal, or that we can determine these concepts simply by gazing at a colour. Taking account of physics will lead, as Westphal argued, instead to a view about white and the other colour terms like Putnam's account of gold. Necessary truths about colours cannot be explained without reference to the logic of the compossibility of what is given in reflection and absorption spectra, the analogue of H2O. (shrink)
Das „Problem der Induktion", dessen Formulierung man gewöhnlich David Hume zuschreibt, hat Leibniz schon am Anfang des 18. Jahrhunderts formuliert und gelöst. Die Methode von Leibniz war sowohl „Hume-isch" als auch rationalistisch. Sie begreift in sich eine Herabsetzung des Empirischen und auch den Gebrauch der „Geheimkräfte", die Hume ausschalten wollte. Ohne solche „Geheimkräfte" gibt es keine Harmonie im klassischen Sinn von Leibniz . Für Leibniz ist eine Hypothese vorzuziehen, die eine Harmonie behauptet oder die maximale Verschiedenheit der Phänomene mit der (...) minimalen Kompliziertheit der zugrundeliegenden Regel zusammenfaßt. Hier sind Beispiele von Gesetzen mit „produktiven Mechanismen" oder „Geheimkräften" gegeben, die der Leibnizschen Erklärung in der Physik und der Mathematik entsprechen. Die Schwerkraft entspricht diesen Gesichtspunkten nicht und ist daher unvernünftig im Leibnizschen Sinne; deshalb werden Induktionen über Schwerkraftsysteme als empirische Regeln betrachtet. Die Leibnizsche Theorie zeigt auch, wie man die wohlbekannten Beispiele von Hume erkennen und vorhersagen kann, nämlich aufgrund des richtigen wissenschaftlichen Verständnisses der Natur der Nahrung und des Feuers. Kants Prinzip der zeitlichen Reihenfolge wird zu seinen Ungunsten mit dem sechsten Grundsatz der Leibnizschen Abhandlung über die Metaphysik verglichen. Wir haben nach Leibniz doch einen vernünftigen Zugang zu der Wirklichkeit, die hinter den Empfindungen liegt, und die Verneinung dessen war es, was das empiristische Problem der Induktion erzeugt hat. Das Problem der Induktion ist ein reductio ad absurdum des Empirismus. (shrink)
In Remarks on Colour Wittgenstein discusses a number of puzzling propositions about brown, e.g. that it cannot be pure and that there cannot be a brown light. He does not actually answer the questions he asks, and the status of his projected ?logic of colour concepts? remains unclear. I offer a real definition of brown from which the puzzle propositions follow logically. It is based on two experiments from Helmholtz. Brown is shown to be logically complex in the sense that (...) the concept of brown can be ?unpacked? or resolved into simpler concepts. If my solutions to Wittgenstein's puzzles are the right ones, then science does bear upon the ?logic of colour concepts?, and the contrast between logic and science which Wittgenstein sets up is a false one. At best it will appear as the contrast between the demands of logic and the demands of a particular kind of scientific theory and a particular mode of scientific theorizing. The solutions to the puzzles about brown are distinguished from psychological explanations, and the paper ends by suggesting what it was in his own doctrine that prevented Wittgenstein from answering the questions he had set himself. (shrink)
In ‘Concerning the Absurdity of Life’ Quentin Smith accuses us of contradicting ourselves in our argument against Thomas Nagel. On the one hand we said that Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 is not ‘insignificant’ compared with cosmic radiation. On the other we said that the life of a man of integrity or humanity could be lived without a formal claim to Value, so that there was nothing for Nagel's external perspective to negate. But where is the contradiction? We put ‘emotional (...) value’, used of Mozart's concerto, in scare quotes, to show that we disapproved of the phrase, and we also called the emotional value ‘so-called’ with the same intention. What we said about the life of the man of integrity, as we characterized it, was that no formal claim about Value was made for it—note the capital V. ‘Formal’ was meant to make the same point. We meant neither to assert nor to deny that Value was objectively present in the concerto. If we had asserted it, that would have meant that the concerto was no good. If we had denied it, that would have committed us to a styptic view of what it would be for it to be false that it was no good. Also not wanted was to understand how music has a value , for example in education. Smith did not see that we were gunning for just the kind of analysis he gives of integrity and humanity . Hence that capital V in our reference to ‘Value’. It was meant ironically. Is a man's integrity ‘living by his values’, as Smith says, or is ‘humanity’, as we used it, ‘respecting the value of other human beings’? Integrity is surely, as the OED says, more a certain kind of unbrokenness or wholeness, being uncorrupted, even sinless, or innocent. The OED rightly makes no mention of values. Nor does it mention them under ‘humanity’: kindness, benevolence, humaneness, ‘traits or touches of human nature or feeling; points that appeal to man’. It is not true, let alone analytically true, as Smith says, that the notions of integrity and humanity involve value. (shrink)
Robert McRae vertritt in seinem Artikel „As Though Only God and It Existed in the World“ die Ansicht, Leibniz habe seine Meinung darüber geändert, ob und wie wir wissen können, dass es ‚andere‛ gibt und dass sie Bewusstsein haben. Ich vertrete dagegen hier in meinem Aufsatz die Auffassung, dass man die relevanten Texte falsch interpretiert und weder der Stärke noch der Komplexität des Leibniz'sehen ‚Indifferenzarguments‛ gerecht wird.
There are many problems of universals, at least the four distinguished by Jenny Teichmann. Consider her second one. ‘How can we form a general term when we are faced with easily distinguishable, widely differing examples?’ The term ‘blue’, for example, covers a wide range of—well, what does it cover a wide range of? A wide range of the colour blue? This is nonsense. What it covers is a wide range of blues —shades of blue. But we do not form a (...) general term when faced with or referring to these items. We distinguish them: cerulean, ultramarine, cyan, cobalt, navy blue and so on. ‘Blue’ is not the name of any of these shades of blue. It does not ‘cover’ anything except the colour , of which it is the name. ‘Blue’ is the name of the colour blue. There are no widely differing, easily distinguishable examples of that . The colour blue cannot differ widely or easily be distinguished from the colour blue. Leibniz's law prevents it. It is shades of blue which differ and are easily distinguishable. The moment we try to say, ‘But this differs from that’, the question will be, ‘This and that what? ’ If the answer is, ‘This colour ’ and ‘That colour ’, then a mistake has been made. For there is no differing and distinguishing in this case. Teichmann's problem cannot even be stated. If we say that what differ are this blue and that blue, which is the right thing to say, then we have two count nouns which mean ‘shade of blue’. There is no general term for these different shades. There is no answer to the question, ‘What is the name of all these differing shades?’ Certainly they are all blues, but each has its own name, and it is not ‘blue’. Teichmann's question cannot arise here either. The question, ‘What do blues have in common in virtue of which they are blue?’ is either elliptical or bad logical grammar. Which it is depends on the construal, or misconstrual, of ‘are blue’. The question should be either, ‘…in virtue of which they are blues ’ in the plural— they are not identical with the colour blue—or ‘…in virtue of which they are shades of blue.’ The plural agreement must come somewhere. (shrink)
_Reality_ brings together philosophical and literary works representing the many ways--metaphysical, scientific, analytic, phenomenological, literary--in which philosophers and others have reflected on questions about reality.