Journal Article

Churchland's Metamers

Rolf G. Kuehni and C. L. Hardin

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 61, issue 1, pages 81-92
Published in print March 2010 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online September 2009 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI:
Churchland's Metamers

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Paul Churchland proposed a conceptual framework for translating reflectance profiles into a space he takes to be the color qualia space. It allows him to determine color metamers of spectral surface reflectances without reference to the characteristics of visual systems, claiming that the reflectance classes that it specifies correspond to visually determined metamers. We advance several objections to his method, show that a significant number of reflectance profiles are not placed into the space in agreement with the qualia solid, and produce two sets of counterexamples to his claim for metamers.


Preliminary Explanations and Objections 2.1

Color spaces and solids


Visual metamers


Matching and appearance


Effect of light on appearance of objects

Churchland's ‘Canonical Approximation’ Hypothesis

Does the CA Cylinder House SSRs in Agreement with the Perceptual Color Solid?

Two Sets of Metameric Counterexamples 5.1

Three metameric grays


Three metameric yellows

Birds, Bees, and Anthropocentrism Redux

Journal Article.  4037 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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