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::: center home >> events >> conferences >> 2015-16 >> outside color

Outside Color: Perceptual Science and the Puzzle of Color in Philosophy

15 January 2016
Center for Philosophy of Science
817 Cathedral of Learning
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA USA

To register for this workshop, please email: cmg84@pitt.edu


In the book Outside Color (2015), Mazviita Chirimuuta investigates the historical origins of the longstanding philosophical problem of color and argues for a novel solution. Chirimuuta finds the origins of much of the familiar conception of color in late Scholastic theories of perception, and describes the assumptions that have shaped contemporary theories of color. She then reviews recent work in perceptual science that challenges the dominant representationalist account of color experience. Finally, she presents a pragmatic account of perceptual states, whereby these are understood primarily as action-guiding interactions between a perceiver and the environment. Colors, it is claimed, are properties of those interactions. The fact that perceptual states are shaped in idiosyncratic ways by the needs and interests of the perceiver does not render the states illusory. Colors are perceiver-dependent properties, and yet our awareness of them does not mislead us about the world. Colors force us to reconsider what we mean by accurately presenting external reality, and, as the book demonstrates, thinking about color has important consequences for the philosophy of perception and, more generally, for the philosophy of mind.

This workshop is an afternoon book symposium in an author-meets-critics format. The purpose of the workshop is to make the research known to the wider community, receive constructive criticism, and foster further conversation on the subject.


Mazviita Chirimuuta, HPS, University of Pittsburgh
Anil Gupta, Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh
Derek Brown, Philosophy, Brandon University


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