[lit-ideas] Re: The Philosophy of Colour

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" for DMARC)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 26 Apr 2015 19:09:21 -0400

In a message dated 4/26/2015 2:15:29 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
_donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxx.uk_ (mailto:donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx) quotes in "Re:
King is not a subject.":

Wittgenstein said that we really only know what we have words for>

and comments:

I'd be interested to know where Wittgenstein said this, just so I could
check he really did.

What Witters did also write is (but it would be good to check his original
Austrian, his mother tongue):

"In my room I am
surrounded by objects of different

This, as Geary notes, or should note, 'implicates' (but surely doesn't
entail) that Witters is not blind.

Geary: "Witters does not specify what perspective he is assuming" -- or

Witters goes on:

"It is easy to
say what colour they are."

I'm surprised by this. Thinking of an aristocratic Viennese room -- think
"Woman in Gold" with Helen Mirren, now playing -- I don't think it is QUITE
easy to _say_ what colours Klimt used in that particular painting. Witters
seems to implicate that in his room he has a red ball, say, and a yellow

Still, the impotant implicature is that Witters is not blind, or
"colour-blind", as Geary might prefer.

Witters goes on:

"But if I were asked what colour I am now seeing
from here at, say, this place on my table, I couldn't answer."

Where 'couldn't' marks what Witters may seem as 'analytic'. Not a physical
impossibility but a conceptual impossibility.

Witters explains:

"[T]he place is

Almost like Tarski's snow. But Witters cannot be referring to Tarski,
because Tarski wrote in Polish (and we don't need to assume that Witters
understood Polish for 'whitish').

Witters goes on:

"(because the light wall makes the brown table lighter here)"

This confirms that Witters is not blind, even if he is not assuming a
first-person perspective. I mean, suppose Witters's father enters the room.
Would it look the same to Witters's father?


So, the implicature it is that it is TO WITTERS himself (or his self) that
the light wall makes the brown table lighter.

Only that we don't usually need to specify "to me" when buying:

"I want those red apples" does.

"I want those apples that look red to me"

seems stupid.

Witters concludes:

"at any

This is an Ascombianism. She was always thinking about rates.

"it is much lighter than the rest of the table"

The implicature is Biblical. Cfr. Joseph and his amazing 'technicolor' (c)
dream coat. Joseph's brothers were not able to specify the colour and hence
they had to coined 'technicolor' (c).

Witters's table seems like technicolor: lighter here, darker there.

Witters concludes:

"[B]ut, given a number of colour samples, I wouldn't be able to pick out
one which had the same
coloration as this area of the table."

The 'wouldn't' is perhaps weaker than the 'couldn't. But I would read the
'wouldn't' as a 'couldn't', and while the suggestion is that it's a physical
'wouldn't', since Witters is speaking as a 'philosopher of colour', it
must be a conceptual 'wouldn't.



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