Color Realism: Toward a Solution to the 'Hard Problem'

Document Type: 
Article
Article Type: 
Theoretical
Disciplines: 
Philosophy
Topics: 
Theory of Consciousness
Keywords: 
consciousness, color, qualia, externalism, extended mind, sensorimotor, enactive perception, hard problem
Deposited by: 
Dr Nigel J.T. Thomas
Date of Issue: 
2001
Authors: 
Nigel J.T. Thomas
Journal/Publication Title: 
Consciousness and Cognition
Volume: 
10
Issue Number: 
1
Page Range: 
140-145
Alternative URL: 
http://www.imagery-imagination.com/col-real.htm
Abstract: 
An externalist view of qualitative consciousness is sketched, in the context of an enactive (sensorimotor) approach to perception, and with particular reference to color experience. This entails a rejection of the Cartesian and Lockean notion that qualitative experience (including color experience) is due to the effects that various configurations and motions of non-qualitative matter have upon the mind. Instead, a realist view of color, as urged by others on independent grounds, is embraced, and it is suggested that, rather than consisting in the internal presence to mind of ontologically (and physicalistically) suspect color qualia, color experience arises from the perceptual activity that puts the organism in direct touch with physically real colors (surface spectral reflectances) in the environment. There is brief consideration of how such a view might be extended to handle other sorts of qualitative perceptual experience, and imaginative and hallucinatory experiences.
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