Subjectivity and Normativity in Colour-Distinctions
How is it like for you to see the blue sky? Applying Wittgenstein’s distinction between showing and saying to this questions – which plays a major role for example in the philosophy of Thomas Nagel and David Chalmers –, we recognize the priority of showing to saying, of knowing-how to knowing-that, and of subjective ‘experience’ to ‘objective’ facts. Not only Kant’s Ding an sich but also subjective qualia must be understood as merely limiting concepts (Grenzbegriffe) – by which we only vaguely point to well-known limits of intersubjectively reliable distinctions. Moreover, the use of colour-words is highly context-sensitive. They express plastic contrasts by which we (in many cases successfully) split up a manifold and continuum of colour-experiences into ‘discrete’ colours of surfaces of things. We do this in quite different ways, taking situations and relevant interests into account. Hence, assertions about colours are dependent from a generic system of relations and modal inferences – such that Wittgenstein realizes at this example why not only the assumption of logical independent colour-propositions is wrong but also a merely classificatory understanding of one place predicates or concepts altogether.