Why Colours Do Look Like Dispositions



In recent years philosophers such as Paul Boghossian, David Velleman and Colin McGinn have argued against the view that colours are dispositional properties, on the grounds that they do not look like dispositional properties, and in particular that they are not represented in visual experience as dispositions to present certain kinds of appearances. Rather colours are represented as being these appearances, i.e., simple, non-dispositional properties. I argue that a proper understanding of how visual experiences represent physical objects as being coloured shows that colours do look like dispositions. In particular, I argue that if visual experiences are to represent properties as properties of physical objects, they must distinguish between these properties and their appearances, and thus cannot represent such properties as colours as being identical with their corresponding appearances.