Another Look at Colour

Colin McGinn

in Knowledge and Reality

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780199251582
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598012 | DOI:
 Another Look at Colour

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In this essay—the first of two essays on colour included in this collection—McGinn abandons the dispositional theory that he first defended in The Subjective View (1983). In its standard formulation, the dispositional theory of colour claims that an object's being red consists in its possession of some physical property which, in turn, has the causal role of generating experiences of red in perceivers; this property is what disposes the object to cause red experiences. Following a demonstration of how this dispositional analysis fails to account for the phenomenology of colour perception, McGinn defends a revised position that combines ‘a form of naïve realism about colour perception’ with a ‘natural descendent’ of the dispositional theory, according to which primitive colour properties are not identical to, but rather supervene on, complex dispositional properties.

Keywords: colour; disposition; dispositional theory; properties; supervenience

Chapter.  8530 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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