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Color Objectivism and Color Pluralism

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Numerous arguments exist against color objectivism, the view that colors exist independently of any observer or any special observational circumstances. The most important group of objections exploits the high degree of variability of colors. Because there is no perceiver-independent, well-motivated standard for choosing among perceptual variants with respect to color properties, variability of colors is supposed to refute color objectivism.

Most objectivist and dispositionalist theories of color have tried to resolve the challenge raised by color variations by drawing a distinction between real and apparent colors. This paper considers such a strategy to be fundamentally erroneous. The high degree of variability of colors constitutes a crucial feature of colors and color perception; it cannot be avoided without leaving aside the real nature of color. The objectivist theory of color defended here holds that objects have locally many different objective colors. Most color variations are then real, and result from the extreme richness of color properties.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, University of Fribourg, Avenue de Beauregard 11, CH-1700, Fribourg, Switzerland;, Email:

Publication date: September 1, 2006


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