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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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On the Reality (and Diversity) of Objective Colors: How Color-Qualia Space Is a Map of Reflectance-Profile Space

On the Reality (and Diversity) of Objective Colors: How Color-Qualia Space Is a Map of Reflectance-Profile Space

Chapter:
(p.37) 2 On the Reality (and Diversity) of Objective Colors: How Color-Qualia Space Is a Map of Reflectance-Profile Space
Source:
Color Ontology and Color Science
Author(s):

Paul M. Churchland

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262013857.003.0003

This chapter focuses on the problematic nature of objective colors, which have been relegated to being “a power in an object to produce in us an experience with a certain qualitative character.” For this reason, colors are often treated as merely properties of our subjective experiences, or “secondary properties,” instead of being treated as objective properties of external physical objects, or “primary properties.” One alternative to this view is simply identifying familiar external colors with the “power within external objects” that tends to produce the necessary internal sensation. Contrary to Locke’s criterion for objective reality, this chapter argues that the successful reduction to objective properties of material objects is an accomplished fact, both of science and of settled history. Further, it is argued that Locke’s criterion of a first-order resemblance to the qualities of our sensations is an ill-conceived notion.

Keywords:   objective colors, qualitative character, secondary properties, primary properties, power within external objects, internal sensation, Locke, objective reality

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