Parsing the rainbow

Synthese 191 (8):1793-1811 (2014)
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Navigating the ontology of color used to be a simple affair. There was the naive view that colors really are in objects the way they appear, and the view that they are secondary qualities to cause certain experiences in us. Today, there are myriad well-developed views but no satisfactory taxonomy of philosophical theories on color. In this article, I first examine the two newest taxonomies on offer and argue that they are inadequate. In particular, I look at Brogaard’s taxonomy and then Cohen’s. One of the reasons I am displeased with Brogaard and Cohen’s taxonomies is that I find it implausible that dispositions are relational properties. I provide an argument against this way of classifying dispositions. Having learned from the vices and virtues of Brogaard and Cohens’ taxonomies, I provide what I believe is a much-enhanced way of taxonomizing philosophical views on color. My taxonomy rules out certain views, clarifies others, and shows that there is an unnoticed view worthy of consideration.

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