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Color Ontology and Color Science$
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Jonathan Cohen and Mohan Matthen

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262013857

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262013857.001.0001

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How Can the Logic of Color Concepts Apply to Afterimage Colors?

How Can the Logic of Color Concepts Apply to Afterimage Colors?

(p.245) How Can the Logic of Color Concepts Apply to Afterimage Colors?
Color Ontology and Color Science

Jonathan Westphal

The MIT Press

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.

Keywords:   afterimage colors, incompatibility, color theory, naive subject, afterimages, physical colors, postretinal neural coding

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