Dispositional Theories of the Colours of Things

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    Dispositional theories of the colours of objects identify an object’s having a certain colour with its being such that it would produce perceptions of certain kinds in perceivers of certain kinds under certain specified conditions. Without doubting that objects have dispositions to produce perceptions of certain kinds, this paper questions whether the relevant kinds of perceptions, perceivers, and conditions can be specified in a way that (i) does not rely on acceptance of any objects as being coloured in a non-dispositional sense and (ii) secures the necessity of the identity between an object’s having the disposition so specified and its having the colour in question. Accepting any theory that looked as if it succeeded on both these counts would require an explanation of why a parallel identity does not hold for an object’s disposition to produce, e.g., perceptions of shape.