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Philosophy of Color: A New Typology

(Work in progress, in draft)

Abstract In this paper, I provide a critical overview of the main positions in contemporary philosophy of color. I first discuss how philosophers have attempted to carve up the logical space of philosophy of color and I then propose an alternative typology which proceeds from epistemological and semantic considerations. I use this typology to draw attention to important commonalities masked by other typologies and to highlight some major problems that the views in each category face. I discuss theories in five broad groups: traditional views, radical error theories, hybrid views, radically relativist views, and radically pragmatist views. I argue that radical error theories operate within a severely restricted account of what real colors could be like, traditional views entail widespread color misperception, hybrid views cannot resolve the tension between usefulness and correspondence as standards of correctness, radically relativist views struggle to accommodate our intuitions about color misperception, and existing radically pragmatist views fail to provide a much-needed analysis of ‘usefulness.’

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