The Red and the Real: An Essay on Color Ontology

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Overview


The Red and the Real offers a new approach to longstanding philosophical puzzles about what colors are and how they fit into the natural world. Jonathan Cohen argues for a role-functionalist treatment of color--a view according to which colors are identical to certain functional roles involving perceptual effects on subjects. Cohen first argues (on broadly empirical grounds) for the more general relationalist view that colors are constituted in terms of relations between objects, perceivers, and viewing conditions. He responds to semantic, ontological, and phenomenological objections against this thesis, and argues that relationalism offers the best hope of respecting both empirical results and ordinary belief about color. He then defends the more specific role functionalist-account by contending that the latter is the most plausible form of color relationalism.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[A]dmirable and engaging book.... his book contains much new material, develops a coherent package, and provides important and thorough discussions of nearly every theory of color. The book is also fun to read. Cohen is a real color enthusiast, and this comes through on the printed page.... Cohen's book provides the most complete and sophisticated case to date that the considerable benefits of relationalism outweigh its costs. In addition, it contains important and thorough discussions of nearly every rival theory of color. Cohen presents his ideas admirably. This is the most important book on color in some time."--Adam Pautz, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199556168
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 8/31/2009
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Cohen is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego. He is also a faculty member of UCSD's Interdiciplinary Cognitive Science Program.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: The Space of Options

THE CASE FOR COLOR RELATIONALISM
Chapter 2 The Argument From Perceptual Variation
Chapter 3 Variation Revisited: Objections and Responses

DEFENSEANDELABORATION:ARELATIONALIST'S GUIDE TO REPRESENTATION, ONTOLOGY, AND PHENOMENOLOGY
Chapter 4 Relationalism Defended: Linguistic and Mental Representation of Color
Chapter 5 Relationalism Defended: Ontology
Chapter 6 Relationalism Defended: Phenomenology

ROLE FUNCTIONALISM
Chapter 7 A Role Functionalist Theory of Color
Chapter 8 Role Functionalism and Its Relationalist Rivals

SUMMARY
Chapter 9 Summary Conclusion
References
Index
1. Introduction: The Space of Options
THE CASE FOR COLOR RELATIONALISM
2. The Argument From Perceptual Variation
3. Variation Revisited: Objections and Responses
DEFENSEANDELABORATION:ARELATIONALIST'S GUIDE TO REPRESENTATION, ONTOLOGY, AND PHENOMENOLOGY
4. Relationalism Defended: Linguistic and Mental Representation of Color
5. Relationalism Defended: Ontology
6. Relationalism Defended: Phenomenology
ROLE FUNCTIONALISM
7. A Role Functionalist Theory of Color
8. Role Functionalism and Its Relationalist Rivals
SUMMARY
9. Summary Conclusion
References
Index

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