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The problem of colour

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Colours are a familiar and important feature of our experience of the world. Colours help us to distinguish and identify things in our environment: for instance, the red of a berry not only helps us to see the berry against the green foliage, but it also allows us to identify it as a berry. Colours perform a wide variety of symbolic functions: red means stop, green means go, white means surrender. They have distinctive personal and cultural associations, and provoke a range of emotional and aesthetic responses that are reflected in the clothes we wear, the way we decorate our houses, and the choices made by designers and artists. But although colours are a familiar feature of the world that we perceive, they are also deeply puzzling. What exactly are colours? Do colours even exist? Colours appear to be properties of things in our environment: apples, clothes, cats, coffee, traffic lights, and so on. Moreover, it is natural to think of them as “objective” properties of. . .

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News source: OUPblog ยป Philosophy

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