What the Mind-Independence of Color Requires

  • Peter W. RossEmail author
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 388)


The early modern distinction between primary and secondary qualities continues to have a significant impact on the debate about the nature of color. An aspect of this distinction that is still influential is the idea that the mind-independence of color requires that it is a primary quality. Thus, using shape as a paradigm example of a primary quality, a longstanding strategy for determining whether color is mind-independent is to consider whether it is sufficiently similar to shape to be a primary quality. However, I'll argue that the idea that the mind-independence of color requires that it is a primary quality is mistaken, and that, to the contrary, while color is not a primary quality, it is mind-independent. I'll propose an alternative understanding of what the mind-independence of color requires. This alternative models color perception on an information filter. According to this model, mental qualities that I'll call media qualities are involved in color perception. The involvement of mental qualities suggests mind-independence. However, I'll argue, their involvement is modeled after the qualities of a kind of filter that provides access to, but does not constitute, filtered qualities.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.California State Polytechnic UniversityPomonaUSA

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