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Saunders and van Brakel question whether the special status
of red, green, yellow, and blue in our perceptual organization is
anything more than a shadow cast by the English language. I suggest
that it is more than this. We can hardly imagine treating lime,
purple, orange, and teal as unique hues, and the reason does not
lie in special training. To settle the issue, I suggest some lines for
psychological experiment and anthropological investigation.
Byrne & Hilbert (B&H) give some excellent replies to the objections to realism about color. However, the particular form of realism they propose, based on opponent processing, prompts several challenges. Why characterize a color by its tendency to produce an intermediate brain signal, rather than in terms of the final effect – either a perception or a neural substrate for it? At the level of the retina, and even of the cortex, there are processes that partly parallel the structure of color experience; but the correspondence is not exact. Must we assume that there is any place in the brain where an exact structural correspondence is found? At the level of psychophysical functioning, there is indeed opponency; but it is not clear that this gives us the kind of type-reduction that B&H want.
O'Regan & Noë make plausible that perception involves mastery of sensory-motor dependencies. Their rejection of qualia, however, is less persuasive; as is their view that we see only what we are attending to. At times they seem to oppose “internal representation” in general; I argue that they should in fact only be rejecting crude conceptions of brain picturing.
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