Advertisement

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 551–572 | Cite as

How representationalism can account for the phenomenal significance of illumination

  • René Jagnow
Article

Abstract

In this paper, I defend a representationalist account of the phenomenal character of color experiences. Representationalism, the thesis that phenomenal character supervenes on a certain kind of representational content, so-called phenomenal content, has been developed primarily in two different ways, as Russellian and Fregean representationalism. While the proponents of Russellian and Fregean representationalism differ with respect to what they take the contents of color experiences to be, they typically agree that colors are exhaustively characterized by the three dimensions of the color solid: hue, saturation, and lightness. I argue that a viable version of representationalism needs to renounce this restriction to three dimensions and consider illumination to be a genuine phenomenal dimension of color. My argument for this thesis falls into two parts. I first consider the phenomenon of color constancy in order to show that neither Russellian nor Fregean representationalism can do justice to the phenomenal significance of local illumination. I subsequently formulate a version of representationalism that accounts for illumination by taking it as a phenomenal dimension of color.

Keywords

Representationalism Color constancy Phenomenal content Color experience Illumination 

Notes

Acknowledgements

For helpful comments, I want to thank Dan Farnham, Tamara Levitz, Melissa Seymour, Sarah Wright, and an anonymous reviewer for this journal. I am grateful to the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts for the research grant that made this project possible.

References

  1. Adelson, E. H. (1993). Perceptual organization and the judgment of brightness. Science, 262, 2042–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adelson, E. H. (2000). Lightness perception and lightness illusions. In M. Gazzaniga (Ed.), The new cognitive neurosciences (pp. 339–351). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  3. Amano, K., Foster, D. H., & Nascimento, S. M. C. (2006). Color constancy in natural scenes with and without an explicit illuminant cue. Visual Neuroscience, 23, 351–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arend, L., & Reeves, A. (1986). Simultaneous color constancy. Journal of the Optical Society of America, 3, 1743–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arend, L., Reeves, A., Schirillo, J., & Goldstein, R. (1991). Simultaneous color constancy: papers with diverse Munsell values. Journal of the Optical Society of America, 8, 661–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bäuml, K. -H. (1999). Simultaneous color constancy: how surface color perception varies with the illuminant. Vision Research, 39, 1531–1550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Byrne, A., & Hilbert, D. R. (1997). Colors and reflectances. In A. Byrne, & D. Hilbert (Eds.), Readings in color, vol.1 (pp. 163–188). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  8. Byrne, A., & Hilbert, D. R. (2003). Color realism and color science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 26(1), 3–64.Google Scholar
  9. Chalmers, D. J. (2004). The Representational character of experience. In B. Leiter (Ed.), The future of philosophy (pp. 153–81). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Chalmers, D. J. (2006). Perception and the fall from Eden. In T. S. Gendler, & J. Hawthorne (Eds.), Perceptual experience (pp. 49–125). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  11. Cohen, J. (2008). Colour constancy as counterfactual. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 86(1), 61–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dretske, F. (1995). Naturalizing the mind. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hardin, C. L. (1988). Color for philosophers. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  14. Harman, G. (1990). The intrinsic quality of experience. In J. Tomberlin (Ed.), Philosophical Perspectives, 4, (pp. 31–52). Northridge, CA:Ridgeview.Google Scholar
  15. Hilbert, D. (2005). Color constancy and the complexity of color. Philosophical Topics, 33(1), 141–158.Google Scholar
  16. Jackson, F. (2007). Colour for representationalists. Erkenntnis, 66, 169–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kriegel, U. (2002). Phenomenal content. Erkenntnis, 57, 175–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Land, E. (1977). The retinex theory of color vision. Scientific American, 237(6), 108–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lycan, W. G. (1996). Consciousness and experience. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  20. Noë, A. (2004). Action in perception. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  21. Noë, A. (2006). Experience without the head. In T. S. Gendler, & J. Hawthrone (Eds.), Perceptual Experience (pp. 411–433) Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  22. Palmer, S. E. (1999). Vision science: From protons to phenomenology. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT.Google Scholar
  23. Shoemaker, S. (1994). Phenomenal character. Nous, 28(1), 21–38.Google Scholar
  24. Shoemaker, S. (2000). Introspection and phenomenal character. Philosophical Topics, 28, 247–273.Google Scholar
  25. Thau, M. (2002). Consciousness and cognition. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Thompson, B. (2006). Colour constancy and russellian representationalism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 84, 75–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Thompson, B. (2009). Senses for senses. Australasian Journal of Philosophy.Google Scholar
  28. Tye, M. (1995). Ten problems of consciousness: A representational theory of the phenomenal mind. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  29. Tye, M. (1996). Perceptual experience is a many-layered thing. In: E. Villanueva (Ed.), Philosophical Issues, 7, 117–126.Google Scholar
  30. Tye, M. (2000). Color, consciousness, and content. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  31. Tye, M. (2003). Consciousness and persons. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

Personalised recommendations