Prospects for Naturalizing Color, or ``What's blue and yellow and green all over?''

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Isaac, Alistair
conference paper description
In Churchland (2007), Paul Churchland gives an argument for the ``objective reality'' of color; the strategy he deploys to make this argument is an instance of a more general research program, which he calls ``domain-portrayal semantics.'' In section 1, I point out some features of color vision which complicate Churchland's conclusion, in particular, the context sensitive and inferential nature of color perception. In section 2, I examine and defend the general research program, concluding that it lies at the intersection of strategies to naturalize representational content. Such a minimally naturalistic, or operationalist, program involves two components: first, a mapping between the target domain of represented structures (colors, shapes, middle-sized dry goods, whatever) and the target range of representational cognitive structures; second, a detailed account of the causal processes which induce this mapping. I conclude with some conjectures concerning the future of such an operationalist program, in particular, that other perceptual domains may exhibit the same context sensitivity and inferential character as color.