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Minds, Ethics, and ConditionalsThemes from the Philosophy of Frank Jackson$
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Ian Ravenscroft

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199267989

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199267989.001.0001

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The Folk Theory of Colours and the Causes of Colour Experience

The Folk Theory of Colours and the Causes of Colour Experience

(p.141) 6 The Folk Theory of Colours and the Causes of Colour Experience
Minds, Ethics, and Conditionals

Peter Menzies

Oxford University Press

The subject of colour has long fascinated Frank Jackson. Perhaps one reason that colours have fascinated Jackson is that they represent a striking instance of what he has called a ‘location problem’. This chapter is organized as follows. Section 2 sketches Jackson's solution to ‘the location problem for colours’. Section 3 argues that Jackson's attempted resolution of the clash between the two axioms of the folk theory fails because of its inconsistency with other firm folk intuitions about colours. In Section 4, after agreeing with Jackson that the folk theory entails both axioms, it is argued that these axioms imply a conception of colours as simple, non-physical, intrinsic properties of objects. Section 5 takes up the issue of why Jackson rejects this primitivist conception of colours and the easy solution it provides to the apparent clash between his two basic axioms. Section 6 examines the exclusion assumption and its role in his argument for the conclusion that colours must be physical properties. Section 7 outlines a conception of causation according to which non-physical properties as well as physical properties can both cause colour experience in ways that do not compete with each other and do not exclude each other.

Keywords:   Frank Jackson, location problem, folk theory, colour experience

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