Color Ontology and Color Science

Color Ontology and Color Science

ISBN 9780262312493
448 pp.
June 2010

Content Publisher
The MIT Press

Color Ontology and Color Science

Philosophers and scientists have long speculated about the nature of color. Atomists such as Democritus thought color to be “conventional,” not real; Galileo and other key figures of the Scientific Revolution thought that it was an erroneous projection of our own sensations onto external objects. More recently, philosophers have enriched the debate about color by aligning the most advanced color science with the most sophisticated methods of analytical philosophy. In this volume, leading scientists and philosophers examine new problems with new analytic tools, considering such topics as the psychophysical measurement of color and its implications, the nature of color experience in both normal color-perceivers and the color blind, and questions that arise from what we now know about the neural processing of color information, color consciousness, and color language. Taken together, these papers point toward a complete restructuring of current orthodoxy concerning color experience and how it relates to objective reality. Kuehni, Jameson, Mausfeld, and Niederee discuss how the traditional framework of a three-dimensional color space and basic color terms is far too simple to capture the complexities of color experience. Clark and MacLeod discuss the difficulties of a materialist account of color experience. Churchland, Cohen, Matthen, and Westphal offer competing accounts of color ontology. Finally, Broackes and Byrne and Hilbert discuss the phenomenology of color blindness.

Contributors: Justin Broackes, Alex Byrne, Paul M. Churchland, Austen Clark, Jonathan Cohen, David R. Hilbert, Kimberly A. Jameson, Rolf Kuehni, Don I.A. MacLeod, Mohan Matthen, Rainer Mausfeld, Richard Niederée, Jonathan Westphal.


  1. Introduction
  2. 1. Color Spaces and Color Order Systems: A Primer

    Rolf G. Kuehnl

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

    Paul M. Churchland

  4. 3. Color Experience: A Semantic Theory

    Mohan Matthen

  5. 4. More than Three Dimensions: What Continuity Considerations Can Tell Us about Perceived Color

    Reinhard Niederée

  6. 5. Color within an Internalist Framework: The Role of “Color” in the Structure of the Perceptual System

    Rainer Mausfeld

  7. 6. Into the Neural Maze

    Donald I. A. MacLeod

  8. 7. Where in the World Color Survey Is the Support for Color Categorization Based on the Hering Primaries?

    Kimberly A. Jameson

  9. 8. Color, Qualia, and Attention: A Nonstandard Interpretation

    Austen Clark

  10. 9. It's Not Easy Being Green: Hardin and Color Relationalism

    Jonathan Cohen

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

    Jonathan Westphal

  12. 11. How Do Things Look to the Color-Blind?

    Alex Byrne and David R. Hilbert

  13. 12. What Do the Color-Blind See?

    Justin Broackes

  14. Contributors
  15. Index
  16. Color Insert