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Abstract: Barry Stroud begins his investigation into the metaphysics of colour with a discussion of the elusiveness of the genuinely philosophical quest for reality. He insists upon a distinction between two ways in which the idea of a correspondence between perceptions or beliefs and the facts may be understood: first, as equivalent to the plain truth of the perceptions/beliefs in question; second, as conveying the metaphysical reality of the corresponding features of the world. I begin by voicing some suspicion about this distinction. Then I go on to consider various aspects of his central argument against the likelihood of any successful unmasking explanation in connection with colour. The final moves of this argument seem to me to be unstable. Either his conclusion that the unmasker’s overall strategy is self-defeating is stronger than is warranted, or his insistence that no conclusive result is established in connection with the fundamental quest for reality is unduly cautious, depending on how precisely the dependence, which he rightly insists upon, of the identification of perceptions of colour upon some identification of colour properties themselves, is to be taken
Abstract: Physical objects are coloured: roses are red, violets are blue, and so forth. In particular, physical objects have fine-grained shades of colour: a certain chip, we can suppose, is true blue (unique, or pure blue). The following sort of scenario is commonplace. The chip looks true blue to John; in the same (ordinary) viewing conditions it looks (slightly) greenish-blue to Jane. Both John and Jane are “normal” perceivers. Now, nothing can be both true blue and greenish-blue; since the chip is true blue, it is not greenish-blue. Hence Jane, unlike John, is misperceiving the chip. Generalizing, the conclusion is that there is widespread misperception of fine-grained shades. According to Tye (2006), and Cohen, Hardin, and McLaughlin (2006), the previous paragraph amounts to a paradox: an apparently unacceptable conclusion has been drawn from apparently acceptable premises via apparently acceptable reasoning. (See also Hawthorne and Kovakovich 2006: 180-1.) Tye swallows the conclusion, aided by a dose of evolutionary speculation. Hardin (1988), on the other hand, rejects the first premise, and denies that physical objects are coloured. Cohen (2004) and McLaughlin (2003) claim that both Jane and John have the colour of the chip right. Our opening paragraph concealed a crucial parameter. In fact, the chip looks greenish-blue-relative-to- circumstances-C to Jane, and true-blue-relative-to-circumstances-C* to John, and the chip has both these relativized colours.1 All this ingenious philosophizing would be in vain, of course, if the conclusion of the opening paragraph were not puzzling or problematic. So, why is it supposed to be? According to Tye, the conclusion is puzzling because John and Jane are both “_normal_ perceivers” (xx). He seems to think that it is (prima facie) plausible to assume that there is no variation in perceptual accuracy among normal perceivers. But he does not explain why this assumption should be made..
Abstract: This paper discusses a number of themes and arguments in The Quest for Reality: Stroud's distinction between philosophical and ordinary questions about reality; the similarity he finds between the view that coloris unreal and the view that it is subjective; his argument against thesecondary quality theory; his argument against the error theory; and the disappointing conclusion of the book
Abstract: University of Connecticut Storrs, CT 06279-2054 Abstract. Recent versions of objectivism can reply to the argument from metamers. The deeper rift between subjectivists and objectivists lies in the question of how to explain the structure of qualitative similarities among the colors. Subjectivism grounded in this fashion can answer the circularity objection raised by Dedrick. It endorses skepticism about the claim that there is some one property of objects that it is the function of color vision to detect. Color vision may enable us to detect differences in spectral composition without granting us the capacity to detect identities
Abstract: In The Quest for Reality: Subjectivism and the Metaphysics of Colour [Stroud, 2000], Barry Stroud carries out an ambitious attack on various forms of irrealism and subjectivism about color. The views he targets - those that would deny a place in objective reality to the colors - have a venerable history in philosophy. Versions of them have been defended by Galileo, Descartes, Boyle, Locke, and Hume; more recently, forms of these positions have been articulated by Williams, Smart, Mackie, Ryle, and Hardin, among others. Stroud's aim is to argue not only that these writers fail to make their cases, but that no conceivable argument could ever convince us that colors are not a part of objective reality
Abstract: In “The Location Problem for Color Subjectivism,” Peter Ross argues against what he calls subjectivism — the view that “colors are not describable in physical terms, ... [but are] mental processes or events of visual states” (2),1 and in favor of physicalism — a view according to which colors are “physical properties of physical objects, such as reﬂectance properties” (10). He rejects an argument that has been oﬀered in support of subjectivism, and argues that, since no form of subjectivism is able to account for our perception of color, we are better oﬀ adopting physicalism
Abstract: C. L. Hardin has argued that the colour opponency of the vision system leads to chromatic subjectivism: chromatic sensory states reduce to neurophysiological states. Much of the force of Hardin's argument derives from a critique of chromatic objectivism. On this view chromatic sensory states are held to reduce to an external property. While I agree with Hardin's critique of objectivism it is far from clear that the problems which beset objectivism do not apply to the subjectivist position as well. I develop a critique of subjectivism that parallels Hardin's anti-objectivist argument
Abstract: At least since Democritus, philosophers have been fond of the idea that material objects do not “really” have color. One such view is the error theory, according to which our ordinary judgments ascribing colors to objects are all erroneous, false; no object has any color at all. The error theorist proposes that everything that is so, including the fact that material objects appear to us to have color, can be explained without ever attributing color to objects—by appealing merely to, e.g., surface reflectance properties, the nature of light, the neurophysiology of perceivers, and so on. The appeal of the error theory stems in significant part from the prevalent thought that such explanations are strongly suggested by our present scientific conception of the world.1
Abstract: According to colour irrealism, material objects do not have colour; they only appear to have colour. The appeal of this view, prominent among philosophers and scientists alike, stems in large part from the conviction that scientific explanations of colour facts do not ascribe colour to material objects. To explain why objects appear to have colour, for instance, we need only appeal to surface reflectance properties, properties of light, the neurophysiology of observers, etc. Typically attending colour irrealism is the error theory of ordinary colour judgement: ordinary judgements in which colour is ascribed to a material object are, strictly speaking, false. In this paper, I claim that colour irrealists who endorse the error theory cannot explain how we acquire colour concepts (yellow, green, etc.), concepts they must acknowledge we do possess. Our basic colour concepts, I argue, could not be phenomenal concepts that we acquire by attending to the colour properties of our experience. And, I explain, all other plausible explanations render colour concepts such that our ordinary colour judgements involving them are often true. Given the explanatory considerations upon which the irrealist's position is based, this is a severe problem for colour irrealism
Abstract: Ross argues that the location problem for color-the problem of how it is represented as occupying a particular location in space-constitutes an objection to color subjectivism. There are two ways in which the location problem can be interpreted. First, it can be read as a why-question about the relation of visual experience to the environment represented: Why does visual experience represent a patch of color as located in this part of space rather than that? On this interpretation, the subjectivist can answer Ross's objection by appealing to the physical location of reflectance rather than color. Second, it can be read as a how-question about visual representation itself: How does visual experience put together the experience of a color with the experience of its being located in space? This version makes the location problem a problem about visual experience itself and renders the ontology of color irrelevant to its solution. The location problem is thus no more a problem for the color subjectivist than for the color realist
Abstract: According to a common view, colors are not properties of physical objects, but are merely powers to produce color experiences in observers. Locke and Descartes both seem to have defended this: [C]onsider the red and white colors in Porphyre: Hinder light but from striking on it, and its Colours Vanish; it not longer produces any such Ideas in us: Upon the return of Light, it produces these appearances on us again. […] It has, indeed such a Configuration of Particles, both Night and Day, as are apt by the Rays of Light rebounding from some parts of that hard Stone, to produce in us the Idea of redness, and from others the Idea of whiteness: But whiteness or redness are not in it at any time, but such a texture, that hath the power to produce such a sensation in us
Abstract: 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
Abstract: Philosophical theories of color divide over two issues. First, there is the issue of Reductionism versus Primitivism. _Reductionism_ holds that colors are identical with physical properties, dispositional properties, or other properties specifiable in non-chromatic terms
Abstract: I argue that Byrne and Hilbert have not answered Hardin’s objection to physicalism about color concerning the unitary-binary structure of the colors for two reasons. First, their account of unitary-binary structure seems unsatisfactory. Second, _pace_ Byrne and Hilbert, there are no physicalistically acceptable candidates to be the hue- magnitudes. I conclude with a question about the justification of physicalism about color
Abstract: We say "the grass is green" or "lemons are yellow" to state what everyone knows. But are the things we see around us really colored, or do they only look that way because of the effects of light rays on our eyes and brains? Is color somehow "unreal" or "subjective" and dependent on our human perceptions and the conditions under which we see things? Distinguished scholar Barry Stroud investigates these and related questions in The Quest for Reality. In this long-awaited book, he examines what a person would have to do and believe in order to reach the conclusion that everyone's perceptions and beliefs about the color of things are "illusions" and do not accurately represent the way things are in the world as it is independently of us. Arguing that no such conclusion could be consistently reached, Stroud finds that the conditions of a successful unmasking of color cannot all be fulfilled. The discussion extends beyond color to present a serious challenge to many other philosophical attempts to discover the way things really are. A model of subtle, elegant, and rigorous philosophical writing, this study will attract a wide audience from all areas of philosophy