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International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics

Managing Editor: Koridze, Georg

Ed. by Hüntelmann, Rafael / Meixner, Uwe / Tegtmeier, Erwin

Editorial Board: Addis, Laird / Davies, Brian / Hochberg, Herbert / Johansson, Ingvar / Kanzian, Christian / Klima, Gyula / Koons, Robert C / Künne, Wolfgang / Löffler, Winfried / Mulligan, Kevin / Nef, Frederic / Oaklander, Nathan / Oderberg, David / Orilia, Francesco / Plantinga, Alvin / Potrc, Matjaz / Rapp, Christof / Reicher-Marek, Maria Elisabeth / Schantz, Richard / Scholz, Oliver R. / Seibt, Johanna / Simons, Peter / Smith, Barry / Strobach, Niko / Trettin, Käthe / Wachter, Daniel

CiteScore 2018: 0.29

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Reconsidering the Case for Colour Relativism

Stefan Reining
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  • Institute of Philosophy, Fakultät für Geisteswissenschaften, University of Duisburg-Essen, 45117 Essen, Germany
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Published Online: 2017-12-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2018-0003


The central aim of this paper is to argue that the main motivation for endorsing colour relativism – namely, the occurrence of so-called standard variation phenomena – constitutes, in the end, a problem for the view itself which is not significantly smaller than the problem these phenomena constitute for most of the view’s competitors. Section 1 provides a brief characterization of the relativist position in question. In Section 2, I provide a prima facie case for colour relativism in the light of the occurrence of standard variation phenomena, and I argue that a certain version of the view can be defended against certain objections that have been raised against colour relativism. Section 3 provides an argument for the central claim of this paper, that is, an argument to the conclusion that standard variation phenomena do, in the end, not at all favour colour relativism over its main competitors. Finally, in Section 4, I suggest and tentatively defend a hitherto neglected account of the meaning of colour terms that accommodates the phenomena in question.

Keywords: colour; relativism; standard variation; absolutism


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About the article

Published Online: 2017-12-16

Published in Print: 2018-03-26

Citation Information: Metaphysica, Volume 19, Issue 1, Pages 57–86, ISSN (Online) 1874-6373, ISSN (Print) 1437-2053, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2018-0003.

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