The Character of Color Terms: A Materialist View

Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 256)

The paper analyzes the meaning of color terms within Kaplan’s character theory (which, when generalized to a treatment of hidden indexicality, can perfectly accommodate Kripke’s notions of apriority and necessity). After explaining this theory and why it might be fruitfully applied to color terms, it defends six theses: that (1) the predicate “is red” and (2) even the relation “appears red to” are hidden indexicals, that (3) the phenomenal, the comparative, and the epistemic reading of “appears red to” are not three different readings, but reflect its hidden indexicality, that (4) the statement “x is red iff x would appear red to most English-speaking people under normal conditions” is a priori in English, but analytic only in one reading and not in another, and that these observations well account for the epistemology of color terms and allow us to be metaphysically conservative by claiming that our context world is presumably such that (5) the statement “x appears red to y iff x causes y to be in a certain neural state N” is necessarily true and (6) the statement “x is red iff the reflectance spectrum of the surface of x is of a certain kind R” is necessarily true as well.


Phenomenal Quality Natural Kind Term Color Term Neural State Ripe Tomato 
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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

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