Philosophical Studies

, Volume 156, Issue 2, pp 267–281

Tye-dyed teleology and the inverted spectrum


DOI: 10.1007/s11098-010-9580-6

Cite this article as:
Ford, J. Philos Stud (2011) 156: 267. doi:10.1007/s11098-010-9580-6


Michael Tye’s considered position on visual experience combines representationalism with externalism about color, so when considering spectrum inversion, he needs a principled reason to claim that a person with inverted color vision is seeing things incorrectly. Tye’s responses to the problem of the inverted spectrum (2000, in: Consciousness, color, and content, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA and 2002a, in: Chalmers (ed.) Philosophy of mind: classical and contemporary readings, Oxford University Press, Oxford) rely on a teleological approach to the evolution of vision to secure the grounds upon which people with normal color vision can be justly called ‘right’ and those with inverted color vision can be called ‘wrong’. I demonstrate that since the inverted spectrum thought experiment requires that both sorts of vision be behaviorally indistinguishable, no biologically acceptable concept of teleology will allow Tye to draw the distinction he needs.


Tye Representationalism Inverted spectrum Natural teleology Evolution Natural selection Qualia Color externalism 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniveristy of MinnesotaDuluthUSA