Minds and Machines

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 287–301 | Cite as

Chromatic layering and color relationalism

  • Jonathan Cohen


Brown highlights cases of “chromatic layering”—scenarios in which one perceives an opaque object through a transparent volume/film/filter with a chromatic or achromatic content of its own—as a way of reining in the argument from perceptual variation sometimes used to motivate a relationalist account of color properties. Brown urges that the argument in question does not generalize smoothly to all types of perceptual variation—in particular, that it fits poorly in layering cases in which there is either experiential fusion or scission. While he doesn’t want to reject the relationalist description of variation in all cases, he does suggest that there is an alternative, and preferable, description available for layering cases, and that the availability of this alternative puts limits on the scope of both relationalist arguments and relationalist conclusions. I claim that the obstacles for the argument from perceptual variation (hence for relationalism) posed by cases of layering are merely apparent. I argue that relationalism can be extended smoothly to cases of layering, and indeed that denying this extension, as Brown proposes, contravenes ordinary and more or less universally accepted canons of rational inquiry.


Color Color properties Color relationalism Layering Scission Fusion 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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