Truth and falsity in colour perception

Baker, Thomas (2023). Truth and falsity in colour perception. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Two principal questions lie at the heart of the philosophy of colour perception. First: how do colour experiences represent the world? Second: do colour representations veridically represent the world? This collection of papers closely examines the various ways in which colour experience may represent the world, and the possibilities regarding the veridicality of these representations. As it turns out, close attention to the above two questions illuminates novel ways of approaching the metaphysics of colour and colour experience.

Paper one distinguishes different ways in which colour experience can be veridical or erroneous, and uses these distinctions to motivate realist error theories: a new class of theory regarding the perception of colour. Realist error theories say that colour experience is erroneous regarding the location and/or metaphysics of colour, but is generally veridical regarding the instantiation of colour. I argue that realist error theories provide a new approach to certain tensions between our motivated metaphysics for colour and how experience represents the colours.

Paper two falls into two parts. In the first part, I argue that extant subject-dependent theories of colour fail to delineate veridical colour experiences from erroneous colour experiences. In part two, I develop novel subject-dependent theories which successfully delineate veridical colour experiences from erroneous colour experiences. I advocate for mono-minimalism: a view which says that colours are subject-dependent properties which range over at least one standard perceiver in at least one standard condition.

Paper three focuses on the distinction between steady and unsteady colours. Extant proposals involve positing that steady colours are subject-independent and unsteady colours are subject-dependent. I argue that the subject-dependent theorist can explain the metaphysical difference between steady and unsteady colours in wholly subject-dependent terms. We can say that steady and unsteady colours are both subject-dependent properties, but steady colours range over a broader range of perceptual conditions compared to unsteady colours. I argue that this bifurcation in the scope of the colours is consistent with the mono-minimalist theory of colour proposed in paper two.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Philosophy
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)


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