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Primitivism and the Analogy between Colors and Values

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Abstract

The analogy between colors and values is strongly interlinked with the idea that these properties are by nature dispositions or response-dependent properties. Indeed, that colors are essentially visible, and values are inherently motivational, cries out for a dispositional or a response-dependent account. Recently, Primitivism has challenged the viability of the dispositional account of colors, taking the apple, for instance, to be “gloriously, perfectly, and primitively red.” Unsurprisingly, the attack on the dispositional account of colors has found a moral analogue in the view that values are sui generis irreducibly primitive properties. The question this article addresses is whether given Primitivism the analogy between colors and values is preserved; or in other words, whether Primitivism breaks the bond between the dispositional account and the analogy between colors and values.

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