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Color and Color Experience: Colors as Ways of Appearing

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Abstract

In this paper I argue that color is a relational feature of the distal objects of perception, a way of appearing. I begin by outlining three constraints any theory of color should satisfy: (i) physicalism about the non-mental world, (ii) consistency with what is known from color science, and (iii) transparency about color experience. Traditional positions on the ontological status of color, such as physicalist reduction of color to spectral reflectance, subjectivism, dispositionalism, and primitivism, fail, I claim, to meet all three constraints. By treating color as a relational property, a way of appearing, the three constraints can be met. However, serious problems for this view emerge when considering the relation between illusory color experiences (particularly hallucinations) and veridical color experiences. I do not propose a solution to these problems.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, Ohio State University, 350 University Hall, 230 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210-1365;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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