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Color and Color Perception cover

Color and Color Perception

A Study in Anthropocentric Realism

David R. Hilbert

Color has often been supposed to be a subjective property, a property to be analyzed correctly in terms of the phenomenological aspects of human experience. In contrast with subjectivism, an objectivist analysis of color takes color to be a property objects possess in themselves, independently of the character of human perceptual experience. David Hilbert defends a form of objectivism that identifies color with a physical property of surfaces—their spectral reflectance.

This analysis of color is shown to provide a more adequate account of the features of human color vision than its subjectivist rivals. The author's account of color also recognizes that the human perceptual system provides a limited and idiosyncratic picture of the world. These limitations are shown to be consistent with a realist account of color and to provide the necessary tools for giving an analysis of common sense knowledge of color phenomena.

David Hilbert was a post-doctoral student at CSLI at the time of this publication. He received his B.A. in philosophy from Princeton in 1981 snd his Ph.D. in philosophy from Stanford in 1986. His main research interests are the philosophy of psychology and the philosophy of perception.


  • Acknowlegements
  • Prologue: Understanding information
  • 1 Conceptions of Color
  • 2 The Arguments from Microscopes
  • 3 Color and Science
  • 4 Color and Reflectance
  • 5 Metamers
  • 6 Indeterminacy and Colors
  • 7 The Reality of Color
  • Bibliography


ISBN (Paperback): 9780937073162 (0937073164)
ISBN (Cloth): 9780937073155 (0937073156)
ISBN (Electronic): 9781575868066 (1575868067)
Subject: Cognitive Science; Color--Psychological Aspects; Color Vision

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