Mélanges Chromatiques: la théorie brentanienne des couleurs multiples à la loupe [Chromatic Mixtures: Brentano on Multiple Colors]

In Charles Niveleau (ed.), Vers une philosophie scientifique. Le programme de Brentano. Demopolis (2014)
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Abstract
Some colors are compound colors, in the sense that they look complex: orange, violet, green..., by contrast to elemental colors like yellow or blue. In the chapter 3 of his Unterschungen zur Sinnespsychologie, Brentano purports to reconcile the claim that some colors are indeed intrinsically composed of others, with the claim that colors are impenetrable with respect to each other. His solution: phenomenal green is like a chessboard of blue and yellow squares. Only, such squares are so small that we cannot discriminate between their location in perception. Consequently we get the impression of an homogeneous green extent. After having presented Brentano's solution, we argued that it is hardly compatible with Brentano's own conception of descriptive psychology, to the extent that it introduces in-existent objects (small yellow and blue squares), which cannot be perceived. We propose another solution to Brentano's puzzle, more in tune with his own assumptions, or so we argue. According to it, the yellow and the blue are in the green without being spatially in the green. A green extent has yellow and blue components, but these are not spatial components. This solution reconciles impenetrability (since the component colors are not localized) with the reality of compounds color. Besides, it has the advantage of taking the phenomenology of compounds colors, as Brentano's describes it, to the letter. Compound colors are what they seem: complex but not spatially complex.
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